Hilda Rossi - CCAMRE
Hilda Rossi was born in Guatemala from Italian roots and Latina origins and came to Canada in 1964. Though she was far from home, the desire to help her nation endured for many years in her heart and mind, waiting for just the right time.
Then in 1998, Central America was hit by Hurricane Mitch - one of the most powerful tropical cyclones of our era - one that left footprints of pain and destruction. This resulted in the birth of Canadian Central American Relief Effort, a Canadian organization for humanitarian aid to Central America, founded by Hilda Rossi.
Since then, more than two hundred and fifty Canadians have traveled to Guatemala on missions organized by CCAMRE. They work mainly in the Merendon Mountains, near La Union, Guatemala, where volunteers help Mayan Chorti with Medical and Dental Health, Economic Development, and Education.
Fifteen years ago Hilda began her dedicated work alone, except for the support of her family. "I was working in a hospital, went from full time work to part time, and then had to retire early to devote myself to the organization," said Hilda . "My husband had to work overtime to make up for my lost salary but he always supported me because he knew how important it was to me."
With the strength and support of her husband, Hilda Rossi continued her humanitarian work . "If you have your health, I think there is no excuse for not helping," said Hilda, who has several roles today and is undoubtedly a Latina who moves mountains in Canada.
A couple of years ago, Hilda was chosen to be the President of the Rotary Club Mississauga - Airport, and she currently holds the position there of Director of International Projects, with an ongoing project of building 24 wells in Chingola, Zambia, Africa.
Hilda Rossi's effort and dedication has resulted in her recognition in 2005 as the Woman of the Year for Halton; She received an Ontario award as an International Volunteer from The Minister of Citizenship, The Honourable Cam Jackson; another award from Inter MIAG (Multicultural International Agency Group of Peel) as well as being considered one of the 20 most influential people in Canada.
" CCAMRE work would not be possible without the support and dedication of the board members, volunteers here in Canada, and especially volunteer members who have participated in humanitarian missions to Guatemala, they donate their time, love, and experience, even covering their own expenses to travel to Guatemala to help others", said Hilda.
Each year, humanitarian missions provide medical care to eight villages in Guatemala, bringing or buying drugs from Canada when the need is greatest. CCAMRE has had, and still has, projects in the villages of Volcancito, Pena Blanca,Timushan,Taguaini, La Vecona, and Campanario.
CCAMRE has a Scholarship program, a Foster-Parenting project to sponsor 30 children, as well as a daily breakfast program for 150 school children in Volcancito, and a nursing program for seniors.
CCAMRE has built houses, two community halls, sewing centers in 4 villages with donated sewing machines. Donated and opened a dental clinic that operates through an agreement with the University of San Carlos of Guatemala Dental School, where students do their practice for 8 months so the residents can access free dental care.
A recent fund raising event raised enough funds to build a school in the Merendon Mountains. CCAMRE 's work is mainly in the mountains as it is an area of greatest need. The next humanitarian mission to Guatemala will be March 22 to April 6, 2014. On this mission, using the funds raised through the Grand Noche Latina event in 2013, we will build a Training Centre in Pena Blanca, this center will be used for sewing and workshops.
With the funds raised on our "Walk for Children from The Merendon Mountains, Guatemala", held on September 28, we will build a school in Timushan. CCAMRE and Mississauga - Airport Rotary Club joined efforts with us to make this possible. "With the help of CCAMRE, Chorti Mayan communities of the Merendon mountains have hope for a better future through projects," said Hilda .
With her work, Hilda Rossi serves as an excellent role model and is a clear example that when one has the will to help, you can. Because you do not need money only the will to donate your time to volunteer. "The nicest thing you can have in your hands is time, so you can have a productive day helping others," said Hilda .
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal” ~Albert Pike