#HowToHelp: Donate to Those who’ve been doing it the Longest

Watching Venezuela burn from far away, people naturally feel a need to help. In this installment of our #HowToHelp series, we vouch for a group of organizations under guidance of the Catholic Church doing amazing work helping the most vulnerable.

During my time working at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello since 1994, I’ve been involved in many social services managed by the Catholic Church. These initiatives have been here way before this crisis and have years committed to help the most vulnerable. Even if you’re not religious, it’s easy to see why donating to these groups is a safe bet.

Most of these organizations started with little money, but with a great – faith driven – commitment to serve others: your actions should be aligned with your beliefs. With time, they professionalized their structures.

I’m going to mention only those NGOs that work directly with health and nutrition services, because those are the areas where I believe we are facing a true emergency, and funding can really make a difference.

First of all, there is Caritas Venezuela. This is an international Catholic Church’s charity organization, whose work in Venezuela has been reported in Caracas Chronicles before. If you would like to help malnourished children, this is probably your best way to do so.

Here you can find how to support Caritas Venezuela.

Our public health system is going through a huge crisis not only because of lacking even the most basic meds, but also because infrastructure isn’t enough (we haven’t built new public hospitals for years) and many facilities aren’t even working properly, doctors are emigrating due to low wages and insecurity, and much more.

The umbrella of AVESSOC has allowed for more funding, training, and accurate evaluation of their results.

Venezuela doesn’t only have public hospitals and expensive private clinics. We also have many non-profit health services managed by the Catholic Church, which include: big hospitals (like Hospital San Juan de Dios); health services including several medical specialities and diagnose services (as UCAB’s Centro de Salud Santa Inés); as well as many small clinics located in poor neighbourhoods offering primary health services.

All those independent health centers are now organized under Asociación Venezolana de Servicios de Salud de Orientación Cristiana (AVESSOC). The umbrella of AVESSOC has allowed for more funding, training, and accurate evaluation of their results. Donating could be a way to support health services for those who cannot afford the traditional private health sector.

Here you can read more about AVESSOC.

A small organization called OSCASI (Organización Social Católica San Ignacio) was founded in 1958 with a small school. Now they run two schools in Petare for children who have dropped out from the formal school system. The kids receive the education they need to be able to re-insert to the system and one meal everyday. This is a small initiative, I know. But I volunteered there for the first time when I was only 15 years old.

Here’s how you can help OSCASI.

Even when social service has a huge element of vocation, it is deeply satisfying to see that your work does have real social impact.

Lissette González

Is a PhD sociologist and researcher at Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales and Sociology Professor at Escuela de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. Blogger and collaborator of SIC Semanal and ElUcabista.com.