Our mission is to provide education and general medical support and assistance to the children of Nicaragua who suffer from untreated strep throat infections and resulting disabling rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and certain areas, including the city of León, have been declared global “hot spots” for high incidence of rheumatic fever, and the resulting rheumatic heart condition which is frequently fatal if left untreated.
History of Saving Little Hearts of Nicaragua
The project was initially started in 2001 with several North Carolina Rotary Clubs forming a coalition with the goal of providing medical support to needy children in Nicaragua. In 2002, with a budget of $30,000, they multiplied their own contributions with matching grants from Rotary International and Rotary District 7690 to purchase diagnostic tools and penicillin. In 2005, while attending the Rotary District 7690 in New Bern, NC, Carlos Pereira, who was born and raised in Nicaragua and is now a resident and successful business owner in Clemmons, NC heard a presentation about the Nicaraguan project, and brought the idea back to his own Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Clemmons.
When the chairman of the original SLHON project passed away in 2008, Mr. Pereira volunteered to become the new head of the project and formed a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization along with John Crouch (CPA and Rotary member), Gil Davis (Attorney and fellow Rotarian), and a new multi-talented board of directors.In November 2009, these members and all six original board members made their first trip to Nicaragua. Their mission objective was to meet with hospitals, clinics, orphanages, and local Rotary clubs to determine the most effective methods of utilizing SLHON resources and establishing control policies to make sure they were accountable for all funds received and expended.
As the organization moved forward, more Rotary Clubs and private individuals have joined forces with the SLHON team on mission trips to Nicaragua to visit the children, parents, doctors, clinics, orphanages, hospitals, and fellow Rotarians.