Nina Jorgensen is the founder and director of Vamos Adelante. Raised in Berlin, Germany, by a German mother and a Swedish father, Nina was a Pan Am flight attendant for a number of years. After Pan Am ceased operations in Berlin in 1989, Nina headed for Madagascar on vacation. The flight was cancelled so she took the next flight available to anywhere and found herself in Guatemala where she has lived ever since. As the director and inspiration of Vamos Adelante, Nina spends her days driving her failing, donated 4-wheel-drive vehicle over washes of rock and through streams to deliver supplies and aid to those she looks after.
The work of our education and health care promoters is the heart of our projects. These local women visit homes, schools, and villages to encourage healthier lifestyles among families.
Health promoters gather with local women in their own backyards or in the shade of a tree to hold weekly health and hygiene courses about issues such as childhood illnesses, clean homes, nutrition and family planning. They
treat minor health problems and distribute soap, tooth brushes and other toiletries to those families, who
strive for healthy practices in their homes, including boiling their drinking water and keeping their houses tidy.
They accompany patients to hospitals and administer vaccinations to villagers, particularly children.
Education promoters visit schools and homes to check children's progress and resolve concerns with
teachers, principals and parents. They coordinate the distribution of educational materials and award scholarships
to the poorest children. Our promoters are leaders within their communities and thus hold an unparalleled level
of trust and respect among the families they work with.
Vamos Adelante supports teachers in rural start-up schools, specialized institutes and adult literacy programs. Though most schools in our area have become independent, (and part of the official national education system) with the help of Vamos Adelante, we still help teachers at particularly needy elementary schools until they are established enough to continue on their own. We also run dozens of adult evening and weekend classes where villagers who never had the opportunity to attend a school can learn how to read and write, and earn a nationally-recognized school graduation certificate. In addition, Vamos Adelante manages various computer and typing schools for rural high school students. Our computer school in Guatemala City, Informatica Amigos, offers basic IT courses and other activities to
more than 50 disabled youths. It is managed by Amarilis Oliva.
Many of our core activities are carried out by a team of exceptionally dedicated volunteers. Dr. Rene, a retired Guatemalan pediatrician, oversees our free weekly medical clinic, where she sometimes is assisted by other Spanish-speaking volunteer doctors and health professionals. We welcome small medical and dental teams who help us treat patients within their rural communities.
Other volunteers provide us with teaching, communication and administration skills either from abroad or while living close to our project for an extended period. We are always happy to host long-term volunteers in Guatemala, but do require that they stay with us for at least one year, speak fluent Spanish and, if possible, offer professional skills such as teaching, nursing, writing/editing, IT skills, etc. (for more information on volunteering please contact us).Friends of the Vamos Adelante Foundation:
Joan Fuetsch is a volunteer fund-raiser, Web site facilitator and family sponsor. Joan is an investment adviser in the San Francisco Bay area and makes frequent visits to Guatemala carrying clothing, vitamins, medicine and protein bars. Joan helps to support a Vamos Adelante family living about 30 miles from Antigua and enjoys watching her godchild, Marta, progress.