In 2004, Maria Elena left the hospital and founded ASSADE as a tribute to her brother and all those killed during the war. In 2007, ASSADE became a registered non-profit organization. ASSADE is in the highlands in San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala, an area where malnutrition and poor water quality present many health challenges for the largely indigenous communities.
Looking at the distribution of funds the Guatemalan government makes towards general developments including health (US$0.90 per person for non-Mayans vs. US$0.30 per person for Mayans), it’s clear that the system is not only broken, but discriminatory. ASSADE works to counteract this by focusing on reaching and serving some of the most marginalized, indigenous communities in the country. ASSADE provides critical primary health services and health education to an average of 800 vulnerable persons monthly. Approximately 60% of the patients are children and the remainder are mostly women.