About L.I.F.E. For Health

 

L.I.F.E. For Health was founded in 1990 by Dr. Honorata Migriño-Stephenson, a Philippines-born Canadian.  She understood that employment, infrastructure like water wells, food and education determine whether or not we are healthy – physically, mentally, spiritually.  She also understood the larger impact of local support.

Born into poverty in the Philippines, Honorata decided to become a doctor after seeing her younger brother die in her father’s arms en route to distant medical care.  After medical school, Dr. Migriño-Stephenson was dismayed to discover that her patients were too poor to buy the medicines she prescribed.  She realized she had to deal with the roots of poverty to improve health.  Thus, the seeds of L.I.F.E. For Health were sown.

L.I.F.E. For Health seeks out small, local, high impact projects that deal with the underlying causes of poverty and poor health, particularly livelihood, infrastructure, food and education.  These are also known as the social determinants of health.  According to the World Health Organization, “social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age…These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels…The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.”

Currently, L.I.F.E. For Health has active projects in the Philippines and Rwanda.  Globally, 40% of people lived under $2 USD per day in 2005. In the Philippines between 2000-2007, 45% of people lived under $2 per day.  While in Rwanda during the same period, 90.3% of people lived below $2 USD per day.

Development instead of charity

Following consultation with local, established agencies, L.I.F.E. For Health has chosen EDUCATION as our primary focus in Rwanda.  Rwanda has unique needs in this regard. According to UNICEF, there were about 860,000 orphans in Rwanda in 2007, largely due to the 1994 genocide.  This number does not account for the hundreds of thousands of children born from genocidal rape in the country.  In Rwanda, there are costs associated with all levels of education and most of these impoverished children are unable to access education.

With a long history of work in the Philippines, L.I.F.E. For Health undertakes projects in four different regions:  Batangas, Abra, Mindanao and Bohol, Dr. Migriño-Stephenson’s home province.  They focus on LIVELIHOOD i.e. micro-credit, women’s livelihood, INFRASTRUCTURE i.e. water wells, orphanage, FOOD i.e. farmers’ cooperatives and EDUCATION i.e. scholarships for poor students.

There is often overlap between these four areas within one project, thus developing a comprehensive approach to optimize impact.  For example, non-profit micro-loans to farmers’ cooperatives in Bohol will help the co-op members increase their food production for their families, while at the same time increasing yields to be able to sell products for income.  More income means more opportunity to pay for children’s education, improve water and housing infrastructure, and afford medications.

L.I.F.E. For Health partners with well-known local agents and organizations to implement, monitor and report on its projects.  Successful short-term project outcomes will lead to healthier individuals and communities over the long-term.

100 % Impact

LIFE For Health is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and is staffed by volunteer members.  All of our profits go to our work.  While the needs are great, with your support, we can make a sustainable, long-lasting difference.