Several times a year ShuarHands, Inc. representatives travel to Guatemala and the Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle to provide humanitarian aid.  Please use the “Contact Us” form for updates. 

Interested in volunteering?  We will create a humanitarian experience tailored to your area of expertise: medical and dental practitioners, authors, photographers, creative & performing artists, microbiologists, veterinarians, students, tourists, graduate students or any interested volunteers.
All are welcome! Visit the Discover Page!


New!  Follow us as we develop the “Greenhouse/Community Garden Hunger Projects” in remote poverty-stricken villages in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.  Our goal is to provide guidance and support as communities maintain sustainable food products.  By improving daily nutrition, the well-being and health of all community members, especially pregnant women, and children, will be improved tremendously. You may donate directly to ShuarHands, Inc. via PayPal on our website or send funds to: ShuarHands, Inc., P.O. Box 1411, Pine Valley, CA. 91962.  Please read poignant information by Dr. Catherine based on her experiences during our several medical missions in Guatemala:



February, 2015 Malacatan, Tacana, Rural Communities, San Marcos Guatemala

An internist, pediatrician and ShuarHands, Inc president Bette will participate in a 5-day medical/dental mission in rural villages in San Marcos, including the communities where our gardens are developed.

December, 2014 San Marcos Guatemala

ShuarHands, Inc. will fund a “Holiday Celebration” for our 24 Sponsored Children: gifts, food, drinks and entertainment will bring a smile to all family members..

December, 2014 Malacatan and Tacana, San Marcos Guatemala

Two mini-medical and dental missions will be held in Malacatan and Tacana in December. The services will be funded ($1,000) by ShuarHands, Inc., with medical/dental personnel from our Policlínica in San Pedro.

September, 2014 Tacana, San Marcos Guatemala

During our recent medical visit to the area of Tacana, San Marcos, general extreme malnutrition causing stunted physical and mental growth was noted in many children. Thus this region was selected for our second Greenhouse/Community Garden Project.

Several community members, including a local agronomist, examine possible water sources, essential for the development of the next community gardens.

July/August/September, 2014 Malacatan, San Marcos Guatemala

View the beginning phase of the “Greenhouse/Community Garden Hunger Project” in the rural and poverty-stricken community of La Democracia, Malacatan, San Marcos. Community members support our comprehensive project: agronomist and environmental oversight; sustainable food via community gardens; clean water; medical and dental support; solar paneling development; and educational classes for community members.

Our first “Garden Project” is complete. Community members from Malacatan are actively maintaining and harvesting crops from the newly created Community Garden. The well-being and health of all community is improving.

August, 2014 Tacana, San Marcos Guatemala

ShuarHands, Inc. provided funds for 17 people, age 50 to 88, to receive Cataract and/or Pterigeum surgery. The cost of their transportation, lodging and meals were also covered.

Late March/April, 2014 San Marcos, Guatemala

ShuarHands, Inc. and Niños Shecanos, with the cooperation of the Guatemala military, local and provincial politicians orchestrated a multi-functional medical mission in the remote village of Tacana. Five ophthalmologists, two optometrists and one general doctor participated, and 377 patients were attended. Per doctors’ orders, glasses were distributed, as well as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Approximately 140 patients are in need of additional services. ShuarHands, Inc. and Niños Shecanos are coordinating follow-up treatment for those in-need.

Our sincere appreciation to our generous donors for providing funding for this complex mission. Our gratitude to Dr. Catherine and Mr. Randy for their financial support; Director Luis for his outstanding ability to coordinate missions to assist those living in poverty.

Patients gather in the western highland community of Tacana, and await appointments with the ophthalmologist, optometrist or general practitioner. These specialists are rarely available for residents in remote regions.

Patients are examined by our Guatemalan medical team in rural Tacana, Guatemala

March, 2014  Cuenca, Ecuador

ShuarHands, Inc. President Bette participated as a coordinator and translator on a reconstructive plastic surgery mission with Women for World Heath. Over 60 surgeries were performed, with several of the patients being Shuar indigenous people from the province of Morona-Santiago. ShuarHands, Inc. provided financial assistance for transportation, food, housing, and clothing for those having traveled great distances by bus. In addition, two young Shuar brothers who received severe facial burns by their now imprisoned father, returned for additional surgery. A compassionate volunteer was moved to provide assistance to improve the boys’ lives. A proactive plan of support has been created.

A comprehensive action plan is formed to assist Shuar brothers.

Shuar patient and his sister appreciate housing and travel assistance.

February, 2014  San Marcos, Guatemala

Pediatrician Catherine, Director Luis and Bette traveled to remote poverty-stricken villages in the western highlands where nearly 500 children were examined; approximately 60 were orphans and abandoned children.  The most prevalent concerns were pneumonia and other serious infections, parasites and malnutrition, dietary and reduced appetite concerns, and skin and muscles irregularities. All treatment and medications were free: Dr. Catherine supplying many of the medications, and ShuarHands, Inc. covering the cost of others, $460.  Children received a small bag of school supplies provided by ShuarHands, Inc. and tooth brushes and tooth paste supplied by Pediatrician Catherine and Dentist Marty.

Young orphaned/abandoned children all were seen by our pediatrician.

A mother from Comitancillo brings in her four children for evaluation.
Each receives school supplies, stickers and games, in addition to dental items.

An indigenous mother explains her concerns to Dra. Catherine and ShuarHands, Inc. President Bette.

May 2013 San Marcos, Guatemala

After waiting one year, 13 year-old Fredy and 7 year-old Breiner received their cornea transplants. Licenciado Luis provided transportation, lodging and comfort for the family.  Both boys now have complete vision thanks to a generous donation by dra. Catherine and Randy.

Post surgery: Breiner with his father, Fredy with his mother and Lic. Luis.

January/February/March 2013 San Marcos, Guatemala

With financial donations of many supporters of ShuarHands, Inc., and with the vital coordination efforts of Niños Shecanos, we were able to provide assistance to families following the 7.4 November 2012 earthquake: food supplies and pure water, vitamins, wool hats and gloves, blankets, masks, eye drops and lotion. Our Policlínica provided free medical check-ups and also housed professionals offering no-cost PTSD counseling. Construction supplies for rebuilding have been distributed to the most in-need.


Family receives food
Construction materials used
Displaced children receive warm caps

December 2012 San Marcos, Guatemala

Three motivated women visited: Hazel, a microbiologist; Sandra, a well-known artist and author of children’s books; and Lura, a travel agent and author.  A well-attended interactive presentation entitled “Safeguarding our Water Supply” was presented to state water authorities. More than 400 children and their parents received motivating, inspirational and interactive classes on water safety. Children enthusiastically received coloring books designed by our team.


Dr. Hazel and Bette:

Interactive panel discussion

Artist Sandra creating portrait   
Lura interviews Mayan women

October/November 2012 San Marcos, Guatemala

Dra. Catherine returned to work in remote towns treating 248 children.  The most serious cases were the arrival of a 7-hour newborn in distress, and a burn young victim.
Over 53 pounds of school materials were collected by caring and generous students from Pine Valley Academy under the guidance of Director Connie. Supplies were distributed to students following their medical exams.


ShuarHands, Inc. President
Bette with newborn
Pine Valley Academy Students
preparing supplies
Guatemalan students receiving
school supplies
Our satellite wellness clinic provides medical and dental services in San Pablo, located in the jungle region. In addition, a long-range educational dental program is established in 10 schools in the municipalities of San Marcos, San Pedro, San Antonio, and Esquipulas Palo Gordo; areas most affected by the November 2012 earthquake. Approximately 3,000 students will receive treatment. Dra. Catherine, Lic. Luis, the area education director, the area medical director and ShuarHands, Inc. President Bette met with the governor of San Marcos to discuss this comprehensive project.

Meeting with San Marcos

    Government officials

Summer/2012 San Marcos, Guatemala

Two doctors volunteered to treat families living in poverty or extreme poverty: In May, pediatrician Catherine treated 671 children living in remote areas near San Pedro. At least 1/3 had pneumonia and other infections, most had parasites.
Gynecologist Mary treated more than 200 women in remote villages: infections, STDs, chronic illnesses lacking proper management such as diabetes and hypertension were concerns. Breast, pelvic and Pap examines were done on many. Medical intake training was provided to local nurse’s assistant students.
My niece Adreanna, age 17, volunteered in July.  She worked in the Policlínica assisting us with the screening process for Asimedic’s reconstructive plastic surgery project, sponsored by Plasticos Foundation. She also visited several village families becoming aware of various living standards and cultural differences as she delivered school supplies to children living in extreme poverty.


Dra. Catherine with Patient
ShuarHands, Inc. President
Bette assisting family
Adreanna working in Policlínica

November/December 2011 San Marcos, Guatemala

Families living in poverty and extreme or absolute poverty lack the ability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes: clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. Therefore our continued goal is to provide assistance for those in need.

ShuarHands, Inc. is working in co-operation with Niños Shecanos Association to provide a worthwhile program entitled "Sponsor a Guatemalan Child". For only $240/year, you can assist a child and family in need. Please view our "Donation Page" for information and the application form.

With corporate donations received in September 2011, ShuarHands, Inc. developed a wellness medical clinic dedicated to providing service to the poor and the extremely poor. Our clinic was developed with the guidance and oversight of Mr. Luis Fuentes, Legal Counsel and Director of Niños Shecanos Association, in San Marcos, Guatemala.

Our "Policlínica Social Asociación Niños Shecanos' is a non-profit self-sustaining social clinic providing services to adults and children at reduced fees. A well-stocked pharmacy, complete laboratory, dental office, and education center are housed within the same facility. In addition, a mobile medical unit, which will travel frequently to remote rural areas, is a critical component to our outreach program.

During Construction
"Policlínica" Entrance
Reception area


December 2010 San Marcos, Guatemala

Three organizations are combining their efforts to provide a comprehensive food program for the malnourished children in Guatemala: ShuarHands, Inc., Niños Shecanos and Division 31 Kiwanis Club of Southern California.  Lt. Governor Mills accompanied ShuarHands, Inc. president to San Marcos, Guatemala to investigate the critical needs first-hand.

Children living in extreme poverty
Children living in extreme poverty
Kitchen and dining area

Many children are malnourished and live in extreme poverty in Comitancillo and Coxaque as seen in these photos. During their visits to remote areas, food packets were delivered to several needy families. Families readily shared health and education concerns for their children. The Vice- Mayor and church leaders support our proposed program to reduce malnutrition in children living in extreme poverty.

Home-bound grandmother receives a food packet
Mayan widow is pleased as Lt Govenor Mills presents her with food supplements
Political leader embraces food project concept.
Political leader and vice mayor supports our proposed program to reduce malnutrition in children living in extreme poverty.
ShuarHands, Inc. is working in co-operation with Niños Shecanos Association to provide a worthwhile program entitled “Sponsor a Guatemalan Child”. Please see “Donation Page” for application form.
Sponsor a Guatemalan Child
Vice-president Torrey’s sponsored child
School supplies and materials were donated for students

August 2010 Yaas Nunka, Ecuador

With the donations that ShuarHands, Inc., has received, we provided doctors and medicine for a two-day medical clinic in the jungle. The two doctors, a medical assistant and medicine arrived via chartered plane. Approximately 96 patients were seen. Two serious cases were immediately tended to: a newborn with breathing problems and young child with severe infection in his penis.

Doctors prepare for the two-day clinic
Our volunteer dentist instructs a Shuar patient about oral hygiene
The physician examines several Shuar children complaining of stomach pains.
ShuarHands, Inc. purchased $830 of school supplies and materials for the students living in remote jungle areas of Morona-Santiago. In addition, more than 150 pounds of addition materials were transported into the jungle. Material were distributed in a town meeting.
A Shuar mother was distraught as her new born was experiencing respitory problems. ShuarHands, Inc. evacuated them to a hospital in Taisha where the infant fully recovered.
School materials are display and then distributed to Shuar students.

September 2009 Yaas Nunka, Ecuador

Shuar students of the "Escuela Nanchiram" in the Amazon Jungle prepare to receive needed school supplies.

August 2009 Ecuador

Approximately 150 pounds of school supplies, including approximately100 backpacks, 250 pens, 700 pencils, erasers, 30 boxes crayons, various styles of lined paper, construction paper, art supplies, paints and brushes, rulers, solar powered calculators, rain ponchos, soccer balls, etc,. were transported from the U.S. into the Amazon jungle via chartered plane. In addition, ShuarHands, Inc also purchased $500.00 additional school items in Macas. One medical doctor accompanied ShuarHands, Inc. President on the flight into the Shuar Center. With the $500.00 of medicine purchased in Macas, 138 patients were treated in two days. All patients needed anti-parasitic medications. Many Shuar, both young and old, had various infections as a result of machetes cuts, scrapes and/or insect bites. Many women had complaints of moderate to severe body pain All women and children were given vitamins.

ShuarHands, Inc. president Bette and coordinator Shiki pack and count school supplies brought from the U.S.

This heavy box containing school supplies is bound for the Amazon Jungle.

All school materials and medicine is loaded into the chartered plane. Doctor Patricio enters the passenger side.

Coordinator/Nurse Shiki documents family members to visit the doctor.

After examining a patient, Dr. Patricio prescribes medication.

A blood sample is taken from a young patient by Nurse and Shuar leader Shiki

This four-month old undernourished child with a cleft lip was referred to Macas.

Bette is seated in the clinic with a family seeking medical attention.

December 2008 San Marcos, Guatemala

ShuarHands, Inc. goal is to, “improve the medical and educational infrastructure for populations in need in developing countries.”

ShuarHands, Inc is coordinating humanitarian efforts with Niños Shecanos, a non-profit Guatemalan organization which provides assistance to the extremely poor in the Department (province) of San Marcos. President Bette traveled to Guatemala in December of 2008 and April, 2009. ShuarHands, Inc provided much needed school supplies for students. Funds were also used to provide transportation and meals for the extremely poor that were being seen at a local clinic sponsored by Women for World Health.

More than 100 pounds of school supplies were donated to Niños Shecanos through their program called”Madres Guias” (Mother Guides).

These “Madres Guias” will distribute the supplies to outlying communities in San Marcos.


“Madres Guias” are pictured with the donated school materials.

President Bette poses with two of the 19 “Madres Guias”


After their medical examinations, Guatemalan patients present their bus and meal certificates to a representative to receive financial reimbursement offered by ShuarHands, Inc.


President Bette shares some notes with patients.

Ninos Shecanos director Luis Fuentes presents a banner of appreciation to ShuarHands, Inc President Bette.

August 2008 Ecuador

The summer of 2008 was filled with many activities: the graduation of seven indigenous students from nurse’s training, the second annual “Indigenous Artisan Fair of the Amazon”, delivery of school supplies into the Amazon Jungle, and work in the medical clinic. View the pictures below for more information.

ShuarHands, Inc provided scholarships for seven adult indigenous students, both Shuar and Achuar, to become nurses. These graduates now act as first responders in many medical situations in the Amazon regions of Ecuador.

As per tradition, ShuarHands, Inc president Bette Palovchik is assisting Coordinator Shiki in preparing to receive his certificate during the formal graduation ceremony.

Coordinator Shiki is congratulated by professors and doctors.


The graduates celebrate their accomplishments.

Two scholarship recipients proudly hold their certificates with ShuarHands, Inc president Bette Palovchik.

In August, the second annual “Artisan Fair of the Amazon” was sponsored by ShuarHands, Inc. in Macas, Ecuador. Artisans from four indigenous groups were represented: Shuar, Achuar, Quichua and Cofani. Entertainment included well-known musicians, dancers and singers from the Amazonia.

Professional dancers performed on both days.

The music and singing united the people.

ShuarHands, Inc. president Bette poses with Kirup, a Shuar warrior and dancer.

Thanks to having received generous donations to our non-profit organization, ShuarHands, Inc. purchased $600 of school supplies and $500 of medicine. President Bette Palovchik traveled into the Shuar Center via a ten-hour bus ride, followed by a nine hour canoe adventure. Fourteen full boxes were carried to the Shuar Center. During her 10-day jungle visit, she worked in the medical clinic with coordinator Shiki, distributed school materials, and met with local tribal leaders. She also experienced the Shuar woman’s daily routine.

Near Puerto Morona, all passengers must cross the suspension bridge while the bus is ferried to the other side.

Most passengers had arrived at their destination but not us!

Traditional Shuar structures are seen along the trek.


Local Shuar view the passing of canoes.

The canoe, the 14 boxes of school supplies and medicine and a tired president arrive to our destination in the Amazonia.

All supplies are carried from the river to the Shuar Center.


All medical supplies purchased by donations to ShuarHands, Inc. are presented to the Shuar community.

Coordinator/nurse Shiki and Bette demonstrate some medical procedures.


Many patients walked several miles to arrive at the clinic for needed medical attention

All wait to receive medical care.

Many children have walked with their families several miles to arrive at the clinic for needed medical attention.


As a result of generous donations to ShuarHands, Inc., all students received school supplies. The enrollment has grown significantly from 124 in 2007 to 274 in 2009. The increase in attendance is attributed to improved medical care, availability of school supplies and a renewed interest in education.

Students and parents are preparing to receive needed school supplies.

Coordinator Shiki distributes school supplies.

A young Shuar student and her father thank Bette.

March 2008 Macas, Ecuador

The Shuar community of Nunkui-Nunka generously donated 40,000 square meters of land to ShuarHands, Inc. for the future building of a fully-equipped children’s hospital.

The community’s president Elias Wasump and ShuarHands, Inc. president Bette Palovchik sign the legal documents.

The next step was for a contractor to review preliminary construction plans, with the assistance of a senior nurse on staff at an existing facility.

President Bette Palovchik distributes donated backpacks containing medical supplies to each of the 7 scholarship recipients.

December 2007 San Luis, Ecuador

President Bette Palovchik met with the Education Director to discuss the coordination of a bi-national teacher seminar.

She also met with the 7 Shuar students who had been awarded academic scholarships, through ShuarHands, Inc., to attend basic medical and first aid classes.

President Bette Palovchik meeting with the Education Director (seated on far right)


September 2007 Yaas Nunka, Ecuador

ShuarHands, Inc purchased several needed items for Escuela Nanchiram.

A Shuar man ensures all 10 whiteboards arrived in the community safely.

Regional Director Roman Shiki installs the school’s first computer.


August 2007 Yaas Nunka, Ecuador

Coordinator Roman invited representatives of ShuarHands, Inc to travel to the interior of the Amazon jungle to observe the Shuar way of life, their school and clinic.

In addition, ShuarHands, Inc. contracted a Shuar pediatrician to accompany the group so that all jungle community members could be seen by the doctor. Needed medicines were also purchased.

On August 9, 10, & 11, ShuarHands, Inc. sponsored the first ever Indigenous People of the Amazon Rainforest Cultural Fair. Held in Macas, Ecuador, Artisans of the Shuar, Quichua, and Cofan people came together for the first time in history to share their handcrafts, music, food, and traditions.

Six members of ShuarHands, Inc. arrived with donated school supplies via chartered plane.

ShuarHands, Inc. member Hugo Chacon and his mother drink heartily from a bowl of Chicha presented to them during a Welcoming Ritual.

Curious children gather around ShuarHands, Inc. CFO Tawny Palovchik.

As eager community members observed, ShuarHands, Inc. members sorted and prepared over 500 lbs of donated school supplies.

A generous donor provided funds that allowed ShuarHands, Inc. to purchase much needed medicine for the Shuar community.

Dr. Juan Chau Masuk fills a syringe with an antibiotic combination in order to treat a patient with a Chicken Pox-related infection.

A concerned father looks on as the doctor evaluates his son.

While waiting outside the clinic door to see the doctor, mothers used some of the donated medicine to treat their children for lice.

A Shuar family took the stage to share their traditional dress, hunting customs, dance and song with the audience.

Three Quichua ladies dazzled spectators with their dancing and singing. Each woman held a handmade piece of pottery.

Cofan Claus Crillo is an accomplished musician.

A Celebration of Beauty pageant was held on the last night of the cultural fair. A woman from each of the tribes present was invited to take the stage. Each woman had an opportunity to sing, dance, and answer questions posed by the judge. Shown here, from left to right, are the traditional costumes of the Quichua, Cofan, and Shuar.

April 2007 Macas, Ecuador

In April, a second meeting was held with approximately 30 local representatives (25 Shuar, 3 Quichua, and 1 Cofan) to update the Artisans on the recent accomplishments of ShuarHands, Inc., address questions and concerns, and to plan next steps.

Over 200 pounds of school supplies, obtained through private donations, arrived in Ecuador.

Coordinator Roman Shiki acted as moderator and director of the Artisan meeting.

With biographies in hand for each student, Coordinator Roman and political representative Elias thoughtfully prepared a backpack full of supplies for each student.

Each student received notebook paper, erasers, pencils, pens, hair ties, and small toy. Students living a greater distance from the school, or who had recently been orphaned, received a rain poncho, solar calculator, protractor, coloring pencils or flash lights.

After approximately 160 filled backpacks were encased in water-proof bags, they were transported by taxi to the bus terminal.

To reach their final destination, the backpacks would be driven 8 hours by bus until the road ended.

From there, the bags were transferred to a large canoe for an additional 10 to 12 hours (depending on the strength of the river level and current).

December 2006 Macas, Ecuador

In December, approximately 30 artisans and several local political representatives met to discuss, guide and to create goals for Shuarhands, Inc. The meeting lasted approximately 4 hours.

Representing ShuarHands, Inc. were President Bette Palovchik, Vice-President Torrey Palovchik, and Coordinator/Regional Manager Roman Shiki.

Bette Palovchik, with the support of Roman Shiki, addresses questions and concerns of the Artisans.

A young Shuar artisan adds her signature to a petition document supporting the Mission Statement of ShuarHands, Inc.

A Shuar woman expresses her enthusiasm and gratitude to Vice President Torrey Palovchik at the conclusion of the meeting.