Where is Solidarity Bridge located?
While we serve in Bolivia and Paraguay, our United States office is located in Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Our Bolivian offices are located in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. View our contact information at the bottom of our website.
Why does Solidarity Bridge serve Bolivia and Paraguay?
As residents of the poorest countries in Latin America, a stunning percentage of the people of Bolivia and Paraguay struggle with little or no access to medical resources. Disease, deformities, and debilitating accidents that are often uncommon or cured at birth in the United States are rampant among the people of Bolivia and Paraguay. For many, our medical assistance provides the only chance for a productive life - or even survival. Our medical programs have grown out of partnerships between U.S. and Latin American medical personnel who are committed to serving the poor while providing the necessary training and equipment to promote lasting change in Latin American medical communities.
What is Solidarity Bridge's relationship to the Catholic Church?
As an organization, Solidarity Bridge is rooted in the Catholic faith, especially in its social justice tradition. The people who make up the organization--including members of our Board of Directors, staff, medical missioners, volunteers, donors, patients, and U.S. & Bolivian partners-- are both Catholics and non-Catholics. We welcome all and serve all, regardless of religious affiliation or any criteria other than their need. We are an independent non-profit (501c3), a mission of the laity, affiliated with the Archdiocese of Chicago but not under its institutional structure.
Who supports Solidarity Bridge?
Like many nonprofits, Solidarity Bridge relies on several expressions of support. Our volunteers give generously of their time, suppliers provide medical supplies and other in-kind goods, and we receive cash donations from individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations. Access our financial information here.
How can I join a mission team?
Can I join a mission team if I'm not a medical professional?
Absolutely. Our teams include interpreters, chaplains, photographers, videographers, bloggers, and helpers in addition to medical professionals such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, nurses, dentists, medical specialists, and general practitioners.
Can I join a mission team if I don't speak Spanish?
Yes, while some of our team members speak Spanish, others do not. That’s where our interpreters come in!
Do I have to be Catholic to join a mission team?
Not at all. While many of our missioners are Catholic, others represent a variety of faith traditions or no faith tradition. In addition, while the majority of the people of Bolivia and Paraguay are Catholic, we serve all eligible patients regardless of their faith tradition.
What happens during a medical mission trip?
Solidarity Bridge sends approximately six medical mission trips to Latin America each year, and five to thirty missioners are recruited to serve on each medical mission team. In a spirit of mutuality, our medical teams work side by side with our Bolivian and Paraguayan partners, learning from each other, and often forming strong bonds of friendship. After a hard day’s work at a local hospital and/or clinics, many missioners spend their evenings leading educational seminars for the local medical community. On a day off, we typically journey to outlying rural areas to explore the beautiful countryside and to gain a better understanding of the local people and their culture, in order to better serve them. Upon our return home, we aim to gather for a debriefing session of reflection, connection, and thanksgiving that brings the mission experience to a close.
What does Solidarity Bridge do besides mission trips?
A lot! Solidarity Bridge has four year-round medical programs that serve Bolivian and Paraguayan people living in poverty. These programs include General Surgery, Gynecological Surgery, Heart Surgery, and Neurosurgery. Our medical mission teams support these programs by training and equipping Bolivian and Paraguayan medical professionals to help them better serve their fellow citizens.
How is Solidarity Bridge's work sustainable?
Solidarity Bridge is committed to promoting lasting change in Latin America. Unlike many medical mission organizations, our primary goal is to inform and equip the Bolivian and Paraguayan medical communities so that, long after our mission teams have returned home, our Latin American colleagues can continue to serve their fellow citizens.
Who is PuenteSol?
Our Bolivian counterpart, Puente de Solidaridad, opened its doors in 2005 to locally manage our programs and day-to-day operations. Headquartered in Cochabamba with a second office in Santa Cruz, Puente de Solidaridad's role is critical for the continuous nurturing of our relationships with partner hospitals and doctors. Puente de Solidaridad employs social workers responsible for screening our surgical patients for financial eligibility and for overseeing follow-up care for those who require it, including all pacemaker implant recipients. Puente de Solidaridad also manages the warehouses that document, store, and distribute in-kind donations ranging from high-value surgical instrument trays to gauze and suture supplies for both mission trips and year-round activities.
How can I make a donation in honor of someone?
We invite you to make a donation here. If you’d like, we will send a handwritten notecard to the honoree or to his/her family to express our gratitude.
Is Solidarity Bridge part of the 2014 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)?
Yes! We are an international independent agency listed under the number 51004.
How can I donate my American Airlines miles?
You can help us defray our travel costs by donating your AA miles to a missioner. Simply call our office at (847) 328-7748 and we’ll walk you through this very quick process.
How can I donate medical supplies?
How can I or my company partner with Solidarity Bridge for fundraising opportunities?
We can make any gift go a long way! We have various forms of individual and corporate fundraising opportunities, including event sponsorships, planned giving, and employee gift matching. For more information, contact Mara O’Brien at email@example.com or (847) 328-7748.
Do you have fair trade partners? Where can I buy their products?
What if I still have questions?
We are happy to answer any other questions you may have. Please contact us here.