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Ayuda has supported Marshalls with books, medicine

By Giff Johnson MAJURO, RMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 13, 2011) – The head of a Guam-based charitable foundation was in Majuro this past week to meet with government agencies and non-government groups to look at opportunities for education and health support.

Carlotta A. Leon Guerrero, Executive Director of the Ayuda Foundation, said Friday she was looking especially for opportunities for supporting needs on outer islands. The Ayuda Foundation has provided contributions of schoolbooks and equipment and medical supplies to many remote islands in the Federated States of Micronesia, she said.

[PIR editor’s note: The Ayuda Foundation of Guam works within the local community and is responsible for such projects as their Island Girl Power program, which was developed in 2002 to address teen pregnancy, suicide and illegal drug use for underaged girls on Guam.]

"Matson moves the donations for free," she said. "We couldn’t do it without them." And Guam Pacific Island Movers handles getting the donations from schools to the dock for shipment. The FSM-based airline Pacific Missionary Aviation, which also operates a ship, has partnered with Ayuda to deliver supplies to remote islands in Chuuk and Yap. Guerrero said they’ve shipped more than 40 containers full of unused school textbooks from Guam schools to the FSM, and she met with government and non-profit organization officials in Majuro to see if there is a need in the Marshall Islands for similar donations. "I’m interested to know if people here need and want donations," she said.

During her visit, Guerrero also testified at a parliament hearing in support of legislation recently introduced to ban shark finning in the Marshall Islands.

Her foundation recently gained a large grant from the U.S.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for medical libraries at Marshall Islands hospitals and throughout the other U.S.-affiliated islands. She hopes to use these medical libraries as a base for expanding partnerships on health promotion and training opportunities in Majuro and elsewhere in the region. A big focus of her work on Guam is reducing child obesity, which is a major health problem.

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