Refuge International

Improving lives through healthcare, nutrition, clean water, and education.

About Refuge International

Volunteers making hearts with their handsRefuge International makes a difference through collaborative and sustainable programs. Our projects focus primarily on basic healthcare, adequate nutrition, clean water, and education.

Save the Dates

Dinner Out at Panda Express

A portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to support our work in Longview and Guatemala. Be sure to bring the event flyer to qualify for the Refuge donation.

Panda ExpressPanda Express
3082 N. Eastman Road, Longview
Thursday, August 30, 4-10 PM
Download the flyer


Movie Night in the Park
Featuring “Wonder”

Movie Night in the ParkSaturday, September 22
7-10 PM
Garland P. Ferguson Park, Gladewater, TX

Bring your own picnic and chairs or blankets for a free family movie night! Free popcorn and water, too.
Download the flyer

How You Can Help

stethoscopeJoin a Medical Mission Trip

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Latest News

Building Relationships to Foster Change in the Petén

Pediatric hospital roomOne of the ways Refuge International works to improve healthcare in Guatemala is by bridging relationships between local providers and other organizations looking to provide resources and support in developing countries.

Last year, a Refuge International team went to the Petén, and with them went Dee Bandel and JoAnn Parkman, members of the Paris United Rotary Club. During a tour of the national hospital, they noted that the Pediatric Medicine area was one large, hot room shared by all the sick children and their parents. Those with bacterial infections were infecting those with viral infections.

Read more ...

Real People. Real Stories.

Christina Kinder & Anna Katherine Cates

Christina Kinder and Anna Katherine Cates with a box of suppliesChristina: During the spring break of 2015, I had the opportunity to travel with my parents through Refuge International to the clinic in Chocola, Guatemala. It was easily my most life-changing experience. I have been very interested in pursuing a career in medicine for as long as I can remember, and my parents believed that this would be a great chance to expose me to everything medicine had to offer. The people that participated in the Refuge International program came from diverse backgrounds, and we all joined together to serve the Guatemalan people. The strength of the Guatemalan people was so impressive and inspiring. They would travel three hours by foot to receive treatment, and travel home three hours by foot the day after surgery. I knew I needed to help.

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Upcoming Trips

October 20-27, 2018 (student slots full)
San Raymundo Medical Mission
Designated flight

November 10-17, 2018
Chocola Medical Mission
Designated flight

December 8-15, 2018 (Trip Full)
Sarstun Medical Mission
Designated flight

February 16-23, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

March 9-16, 2019
Chocola Medical Mission

March 23-30, 2019 (student slots full)
Sarstun Medical Mission

April 6-13, 2019
Petén Medical Mission

Women’s Health Jornada
May 11-18, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

Orthopedic Team
May 19-25, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

July 13-20, 2019
Chocola Medical Mission

August 3-10, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

August 24-31, 2019
Sarstun Medical Mission

October 19-26, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

November 9-16, 2019
Chocola Medical Mission

December 7-14, 2019
Sarstun Medical Mission

Change is not something to simply wish or wait for. Real change requires intent and action.

Refuge International is an organization comprised of dedicated, compassionate volunteers committed to making real change happen in the lives of those who need it most. Through lifesaving medical mission trips, supporting schools and educational programs and vital clean water projects we are turning the tide on poverty for people living in rural Guatemala villages. And, right here in East Texas, our volunteers provide medical assistance to homeless individuals at the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. Join us in our mission to help build a brighter future for others.

A Lesson In Change

Among hundreds of people waiting to visit with Mahatma Gandhi in the 1930's were a mother and her young son. When it was their turn, the woman asked Gandhi to speak with her son about the excessive amounts of sugar the boy ate. Gandhi asked her to return with her son in two weeks and he would talk to the boy then. Unsure as to why Gandhi didn't just speak to the boy at that moment, she nodded and complied with his request. In two weeks, the mother returned with her son. After waiting a few hours to meet with him again, she repeated her initial request. Gandhi immediately spoke with the boy, who agreed to begin working to eliminate sweets. After thanking Gandhi for his wise and compassionate words, the mother asked him why he didn't just offer his advice the first time. Gandhi replied, "Upon your visit two weeks ago, I too was eating sugar." He explained that he could not speak of, or teach, her son to not eat sugar if he had not taken that journey himself.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”