Norma works for AmeriCares partner the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). For the last seven years she has coordinated all aspects of the requests, delivery, distribution and assessment of medicines and relief aid AmeriCares sends to Honduras. On weekends, Norma assembles medical teams to go to the country’s most isolated locations where there are no health facilities.

“It’s hard to explain how thankful the people are that the doctors come to them and provide health care,” explains Norma. She continues to describe how many of the patients would not have enough money left to put food on their tables if they had to pay for the medications they need. “I believe that if AmeriCares did not exist, the people here that receive AmeriCares donated medicines would not be alive,” she says.

A Lifetime of PassionNorma has been helping others since she was a little girl, when she volunteered with a church youth group. She studied accounting and worked as an accountant for a hospital in her hometown in the northern part of the country, but eventually moved to the capital city, Tegucigalpa, in search of a better life. There, she worked as an accounting assistant for a large company, which eventually led her to SMOM.

“It’s obvious that Norma has a passion for the work she does,” says AmeriCares Program Manager Lisa Frantzen. “Her tireless efforts to ensure that our donated medicines arrive to the people that need them most in her country are a major part of how we are able to fulfill our mission.”

Norma and AmeriCares Program Manager Lisa Frantzen visit one of the health centers that receive AmeriCares donations.

Norma (center) and AmeriCares Program Manager Lisa Frantzen (top left) visit one of the health centers that receives AmeriCares donations

“With the medicines sent by AmeriCares, we can greatly help the hospitals and health clinics supplement their insufficient supply,” Norma says. For example, since so many patients have limited economic resources and many do not have health coverage, paying for the pricey medicines is virtually impossible. There is one little girl Norma recalls that has AIDS from a mother-infant transfer. When the girl fell ill, the mother brought her to the Hermanas Josefinas Clinic, where the staff there helped her recover by giving her medicines donated by AmeriCares. They gave her a nutritional drink to treat her malnutrition and topical antibiotics for her skin rashes. The girl still visits the clinic regularly as she cannot afford treatment at a hospital.

“Spending my time and energy helping others is a part of my life,” Norma says. “There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like I’ve made a little difference in bringing even a small amount of relief to those who need it most.”