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.

How You Can Help

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The Faces of Guatemala

Latest News

Carroll Greenwaldt Elected President of Board of Directors

image001Refuge International is excited to announce the appointment of Carroll Greenwaldt as president to the Board of Directors. Carroll has actively served on the Board for over 3 years and is a longtime member of the Refuge International family. He has been instrumental in building upon our work in the Petén region helping build a collaborative relationship between Refuge, Rotary International and the National Hospital in San Benito.

“From my earliest trip to Sarstún in 2008, I have been “hooked.” I know that we will grow and strengthen Refuge, building on the solid foundation that Deborah Bell and so many others have laid,” Carroll commented to the Board.

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Real People. Real Stories.

John Pettit & Gregorio Hernandez

Gregorio2I met Gregorio during the summer of 2011. I was serving as a proselyting missionary in Chinique, Quiche. When I met Gregorio, he was living in a house made of cardboard. The walls and ceiling were made of cardboard boxes that had been unfolded, supported by some sort of bamboo poles in the corners. As you can imagine, this did not keep out the torrential Guatemalan rain. 

Five years earlier, at the age of 41, Gregorio was injured in a fall down a ravine and since that time he had been unable to work. His wife chopped firewood and carried it on her back to earn money and support themselves. One or two years after I met Gregorio, his wife passed away. When I asked him if he had seen a doctor, he said that he had already had two operations on each of his knees in Guatemalan hospitals, but his condition did not improve. He walked with difficulty, and was plagued with constant pain that kept him awake most nights.

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Upcoming Trips

February 16-23, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission
Designated flight

March 9-16, 2019 (student spots full)
Chocola Medical Mission
Designated flight

March 9-16, 2019 (Trip Full)
Village Clinic Week
Sarstun Medical Mission

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

April 6-13, 2019
Petén Medical Mission

Orthopedic Team
May 11-18, 2019
San Raymundo Medical Mission

Women’s Health Jornada
May 18-25, 2019 (student spots full)
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.”