Seton Institute cannot forecast when and where the next natural disaster will hit. But we’re certain of one thing: it’s only a matter of time before the next one does hit.
If past disasters are a fair predictor of future ones, the next disaster will feature Catholic Sisters on the ground in the thick of the strike zone. They will be there sorting through rubble, assessing needs and delivering relief services to those displaced. They will be helping minimize suffering in communities that have their trust. They will have found their unique role. And rest assured, they will be doing their best to provide a safety net to any soul at risk of falling through the cracks.
Seton Institute has established a long track record of responding effectively to humanitarian crisis situations where our Sisters are involved. Our first disaster response occurred in 1987 when we shipped $200,000 of medical aid to El Salvador after a devastating earthquake. Hurricane Mitch in Central America followed in 1988,…then the cholera epidemic in Peru in 1993,…Tropical Storm Jeanne in Haiti in 2004,…the South Asian tsunami in 2005,…and most recently the floods in Indonesia and the earthquake in Peru in 2007.
Since 1987, Seton Institute has remained on alert – ready at a moment’s notice to respond to the Sisters’ call for help. When disaster strikes, we identify Sisters in the region and listen to their needs assessment. If necessary, we dispatch personnel to the disaster zone. And we mobilize you – our partners and donor network. Financial and in-kind contributions funnel in. And as quickly as these resources arrive, they’re efficiently distributed to the Sisters in the field.
Seton Institute does not parachute into a disaster zone, wiping our hands of the situation as soon as the aircraft’s wheels lift off the tarmac. Because these Sisters are from the community in crisis – they live there, eat there, sleep there and serve there – our work is only finished when they tell us it’s finished. That means long-term rehabilitation is as important to us as immediate response, relief and recovery.
Throughout the developing world, thousands of Catholic hospitals and clinics represent the only healthcare option for many of the world’s poorest populations. They serve the forgotten who live in dense urban slums, gritty border towns, isolated rural outposts…and anywhere in between. But regardless of their location, these health facilities share one common goal – to protect the health and well-being of their communities.
Seton Institute’s medical supply shipment program aims to provide life-saving medicine, equipment and supplies to these under-resourced Catholic hospitals and health clinics that often have nothing but compassion to administer. The Sisters keep us consistently informed of their needs. We liaise with our hospital and other US-based aid partners, who alert us when they have supplies available. And working together, we make the shipment happen.
Seton Institute’s medical aid shipment program has grown steadily in recent years. Since 2000, Seton Institute has shipped or partnered in shipping 173 ocean containers worth over $27 million to Catholic hospitals and clinics in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
And Seton Institute is proud of the ‘greening’ impact our medical shipment program has on our world. Our shipments contain many useful, reusable medical supplies and equipment that would otherwise end up in our already overflowing landfills. So not only are we saving lives in less developed countries with our shipment program, but we’re also protecting our planet.
Seton Institute focuses its grantmaking program on primary healthcare projects of Catholic Sisters in less developed countries.
But what is primary healthcare?
A declaration put forth at the International Conference on Primary Health Care at Alma-Ata, USSR in 1978, primary healthcare affirms comprehensive, universal, equitable and affordable healthcare service for all people in all countries.
Primary healthcare covers a broad range of health and preventative services, including health education, counseling, disease prevention and screening, proper nutrition, adequate safe water supply and basic sanitation, maternal and child health, vaccination, appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries; and provision of essential drugs.
But above all, it avows that access to basic health services is a fundamental human right.
Despite our best efforts, inequities in access to health services remain between rich and poor, urban and rural. In many places, the gap has widened. Until that reality changes, we stay committed to supporting the Sisters and their works in primary healthcare.
Our Primary Healthcare Grants
Our grantmaking program aims to build healthier communities and reduce health inequities for those people living in abject poverty without access to basic health services or a healthy environment.
In the United States, we raise funds and awards grants.
Throughout the year, we receive written grant proposals from Sisters in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Our grant review committee reviews the proposals and makes recommendations to the Seton Institute Board of Directors to award grants to projects that best fit our mission.
Since 1985, Seton Institute has made more than $12 million in grants to primary health projects in the developing world. We are proud of the investment we are making in the world’s future.
What we fund…
Health Education & Training, HIV/AIDS, Infectious Disease, Medicine, Mother & Child, Nutrition, Water & Sanitation