We are excited to announce the ESPERA Medical Assistance Fund. In response to an increasing number of unforeseen medical issues experienced by ESPERA members in the past year, this new initiative will provide additional support for ESPERA women.
Mary’s Pence established the following criteria to ensure that our support reaches those who need it during crises: Support must be requested by the ESPERA Partner organization to which the affected person belongs. The medical issue should directly affect a person in the ESPERA Program. The emergency must be an unexpected situation requiring immediate attention rather than a chronic illness. The emergency should be diagnosed and described accurately. Our dedicated Regional Team will review and approve the support request.
The amount offered will be up to US$300 or equivalent in local currency.
The ESPERA team has already reviewed and approved our two first cases. One involved a woman in El Salvador who was struck by lightning, leaving her temporarily disabled and her house severely damaged. She is now undergoing therapy and starting to walk again, but it will take a long time to recover. Another involved a woman in Honduras who had to undergo emergency surgery, affecting their ability to generate income.
The Significance of the Medical Assistance Fund
The health systems in countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua are notably weak. Access to the Social Security system is limited to those with formal employment, a privilege many women participating in the ESPERA Program don’t have due to their informal work status.
Most women in the ESPERA Program already live in vulnerable conditions. Any unexpected health crisis amplifies their vulnerability, particularly regarding their economic well-being. This fund will alleviate financial burdens associated with illness and emergencies and promote their well-being and security during difficult times.