• 1 How and when did the concept of ShuarHands, Inc.. develop?

    In 2005 Bette became a translator and coordinator for Plasticos Foundation, a non-profit plastic surgery group that provides free medical assistance to those in need: repair of cleft lips, palates, burns and other deformatives. She has traveled to Cuba, various regions of Ecuador and Guatemala. Through her trip to the Amazon area of Ecuador, she came in contact with a Shuar leader who was a patient advocate and translator. Upon her departure, they exchanged addresses. Throughout the next few months, each learned about the other's culture.

    The concept of ShuarHands, Inc..developed at midnight in October of 2006. As Bette was sharing with her daughter the experiences of her recent medical missions and expressing the desire to help humanity more, Torrey focused attention to the tribal leader with whom Bette had been communicating. "Why don't you contact him and see what we can create". Of course!!!!
    The email she sent to him was powerful. "I have everything that I could want in life: good health, a good paying job, the love of my family and friends. I was wondering how I might help your people".

    "The first foreigner to understand the plight of my people...YES", was the prompt rose-bordered email response received the next morning. ShuarHands, Inc. is a 501c3 (non-profit) organization.

    After graduating from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Spanish, Bette worked in orthodontics. She married and was fortunate to be a "stay-at-home-mother" for her three children for nearly 10 years. Later she completed her teaching credentials (multiple subject, single subject: Spanish and social studies, and BBC) and became employed on a full-time basis at a local and rural high school, where she continues to work today. She completed her Master's degree at National University in 2002.

    The concept of ShuarHands, Inc.. was created in October 2006 with the assistance of her daughters Torrey and Tawny to provide humanitarian assistance to others.

  • 2 Who are the officers of ShuarHands, Inc.?

    Bette Palovchik is the founder and President.
    Torrey Chacon is Vice-President and Secretary.
    Travis Palovchik is our CFO.

    Please visit the "About Us" page to view our profiles

  • 3 Do you have a board

    Yes. We have a four panel board that helps guide and direct the actions and funds of ShuarHands, Inc.

  • 4 What is your mission statement?

    Our mission statement as approved by the State of California in the Articles of Incorporation is:
    "To improve the medical and educational infrastructure for populations in need in developing countries."

  • 5 Where did the name ShuarHands, Inc. originate?

    All of the officers were active in thinking of names but Torrey created the term ShuarHands, Inc. Shuar is the name of one group of indigenous people who live in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador. They were the first group that we worked with. Hands was selected because the products that we purchase from the Shuar are made by the hands of single-mother artisans.

  • 6 You mentioned that the Shuar were the first group. Do you also assist other people?

    Yes!! Although ShuarHands, Inc. started with assisting the indigenous Shuar in Ecuador, we have also extended our humanitarian assistance to other locales. We are working in cooperation with an established non-profit Guatemalan organization called Niños Shecanos. Many families are in desperate need of assistance in the Middle East as they seek stability and safety. We recently established basic assistance in Lebanon for refugees.

  • 7 What has ShuarHands, Inc. accomplished?

    We've accomplished a great deal in 14 years!. ShuarHands, Inc.. has worked directly with local governing leaders creating advances in two areas: education and health.


    -Over 2,000 pounds of school supplies have been delivered to Shuar communities including backpacks, pencils, pens, markers, paper, art supplies, erasers, rulers, solar-powered calculators,text books, rain ponchos, hair ties, etc.

    -ShuarHands, Inc is providing partial college scholarships for qualifying students. These students come from the Shuar Center of Yaas Nunka, located in the depths of the Amazon Jungle;

    -Enrollment in primary school Escuela Nanchiram is steadily increasing (from 127 students to 274);

    -Seven adults (5 Shuar and 2 Ashuar) have completed nurse's training and act as first responders within the Amazon Jungle. (We provided scholarships to assist with the cost tuition and basic laboratory supplies)

    -$1,500.00 of school supplies to Ninos Shecanos "Madres Guias" including books (reading and reference), backpacks, pencils, pens, paper, art supplies, rulers, calculators, hair ties, etc.

    -53 pounds of school supplies were distributed to children living in remote villages.

    -Friends and family sponsor 24 children who live in extreme poverty. Medical care is provided as well as supplementary monthly food packets for the family. Students must maintain a strong school attendance.


    -A small clinic was opened in the a Shuar community in the Amazon rainforest.
    -Doctors have been flown to the clinic to tend to the health needs of all who arrive seeking care. Seven medical missions have been completed as of July 2009;

    -More than $1,500 of medicine has been purchased to be used in the clinic by medical personnel.

    -ShuarHands, Inc. provided financial assistance to assist several Shuar indigenous people to arrive for needed plastic surgery: transportation, food, housing, and clothing.

    -A comprehensive support program has been developed for two Shuar brothers who received severe facial burns by their now imprisoned father. Thank you to donor Sol and Sahar.


    -A wellness medical clinic opened in December 2011 to provide medical care to families living in poverty and extreme poverty. A mobile health unit allows people in remote areas access to health care.

    -In April of 2009, a multi-specialty medical mission to San Marcos was sponsored by Women for World Health. In order for many of the extremely poor to arrive, ShuarHands,Inc. donated $400.00 to Ninos Shecanos to provide transportation and meals for those most in need. (Bette volunteers as a translator and coordinator for Plasticos Foundation as well as Women for World Health.

    -The health of many children has improved as we continue to support programs to reduce malnutrition.

    -Disaster relief funds were sent to Guatemala after the devastation of Hurricane Agatha in summer of 2010. Monies were used for re-establishing crops, repairing housing structures and clothing for children.

    -Over 500 pounds of medical supplies have been delivered to our new wellness clinic in San Pedro: medications, emergency supplies, instruments, thermometers, scales, sutures, bandages, etc. ShuarHands, Inc. purchased an O2 tank and regulator, and a universal diagnostic set.

    -The medical services provided to Guatemalans by ShuarHands, Inc. in 2012 through our three medical missions reached approximately: $48,000 (calculation based on cost of services and medications in San Marcos, Guatemala).

    -In November 2012, a 7.4 earthquake hit San Marcos. Disaster relief funds were sent to Niños Shecanos for the following: food supplies and pure water, vitamins, wool hats and gloves, blankets, facial masks, eye drops and lotion. Our Policlínica provided wellness check-ups for free and our clinic housed professional offering free counseling for PTSD. Construction supplies for rebuilding have been purchased for the most in-need.

    -Pine Valley Academy donated over 100 hand-made caps for children-in-need following the earthquake.

    -In February, 2014, we inaugurated a second medical/dental clinic in San Pablo, located in the jungle region, which provides services to families living in poverty at reduced rates. A small pharmacy is also available for patients.

    -ShuarHands, Inc. is assisting poverty-stricken communities to create a source of nutritional foods which will improve the well-being and health of all community members via “Greenhouse/Community Garden Hunger Project”.

    -ShuarHands, Inc. provides on-going medical and dental missions…several yearly.

    -ShuarHands, Inc has financed 146 surgeries for patients needing cataract and pterygium surgeries

    ShuarHands, Inc., with the assistance of Niños Shecanos, added a Protein Project (2017) to accompany our successful Community Garden Project in the Western Highlands.

    -An Audiology Center was opened in the Policlínica (2019), located in San Marcos. Outreach missions to rural indigenous communities are also being conducted.

     Payment of refugee debts in local food markets
     Payment of refugee debts in local pharmacies
     Stocking of food pantry in establish food kitchen in Al Mina
     Distribution of pictorial Children’s books

    Assisting Women Artisans

    --ShuarHands, Inc. purchases handmade crafts from single mothers, women and local artisans which provides them with economic assistance.

    In addition, as Bette travels within the Spanish-Speaking world she seeks out local artisans and makes small purchases for resale.

  • 8 Many non-profit organizations use donations for administrative costs or for salaries. How does ShuarHands, Inc use its donations?

    ShuarHands, Inc. dedicates approximately 98% of all donations and monies to provide assistance to people who live in poverty and extreme poverty in Ecuador and Guatemala. A small percentage is used for: legal costs for establishing and maintaining our non-profit organization, business needs, and website maintenance.

  • 9 Who are your donors?

    Our donors are those who support our philosophies. Most donations are less than $50.00. Friends and family generously contribute. Students and personal from two school districts have collected school supplies: Mountain Empire Unified and Pine Valley Academy. Financial donations of any amount are welcomed. We also encourage corporate donations. Donations are tax-deductible.

  • 9 How can I help?

    Thank you for your support.

    -Visit our website (www.shuarhands.com) to find out about our needs.
    -Purchase beautiful handmade articles.
    -Tell your friend about us
    -Make a donation either via Paypal or to P. O. Box 1411, Pine Valley, CA. 91962

    Help us make a difference!!!