Make a gift

A story you can continue!

Health & Help was born out of a courageous dream pursued by two young women who wanted to make the world a better place. Today it is an international non-profit organization with a remarkable team, two working clinics — and, most importantly, enthusiastic volunteers and donors coming from all over the world. Our first clinic in Guatemala turns 4 years old today, and we invite you to celebrate this anniversary together.

Let's remember how it all started

August 2015

I decided to stop putting off my dream

“I was flying back to my hometown,Ufa, from a volunteer mission in Haiti. 20 minutes after takeoff, the pilot announced that one of the engines had caught on fire and we were returning to the airport. Over the next 20 minutes, I radically changed my thinking about everything that had happened in my life up to this point. Suddenly I realized that life is too short to put off important things until someday far in the future. I made it back to Ufa on a different flight and immediately began telling friends about my dream: I wanted to build a clinic in Guatemala, where I had spent quite some time as a volunteer doctor. What I saw there was hard to forget: people were still dying from the diseases that have long been known to be easily curable. Some of my friends thought I was crazy, others wished me luck. Then I happened to meet Karina Basharova. She called my idea great and claimed she knew how to turn it into reality.”

Viktoriya Valikova,
one of the cofounders of Health & Help

February 2016

I processed the donation and went on to pack my bags

“I really wanted this project to work out, so I became a donor – I donated $33. This indeed was a dream, so real and crazy. I think that’s what drew me in at the time – the sincerity and the pure sense of doing the right thing. This belief turned out to be contagious. Many people like me donated money to the project – even though it was only starting and no one knew how it would turn out. My own motivation was a tooth. The tooth of a patient from Haiti that I saw at Vika Valikova’s presentation. I can still see the picture before my eyes. I don’t know why it was this man in particular. Nothing – neither elephantiasis, nor malaria, not even women giving birth on dirt floors, impacted me as much as this man with a terribly swollen cheek the size of a fist. ‘This shouldn’t be happening anywhere,’ I thought, and started packing my bags for my journey to build the clinic.”

Olga Markova,
donor and volunteer photographer at Health & Help

June 2016

We had nowhere to sleep – but we kept on building

“I still remember the moment when we came to that empty plot of land. We were given half of the school building, sectioned off with an iron sheet. We didn’t have beds or mattresses – all of our funds were spent on construction supplies. The next day, Vika said ‘Alright, you’re in charge since you know Spanish. We have to go pick up medical supplies and volunteers, and sign documents.’ It was just me and Igor, a volunteer builder from Ufa. He was given a pick-axe and told ‘You and some locals are going to dig a bathroom.’ I was given a small closet that now functioned as a doctor’s office. This is where I saw our first patients.”

Alla Tokareva,
volunteer nurse at Health & Help

February 2017

There was no doctor here before us

“When you first started building, my 10 year old son fell and hurt his head. There was a lot of blood, we thought he would die. We brought him to you. The doctor was on his lunch break but he dropped everything and came running. They bandaged my son and sent him to a hospital, but we did not have enough money to go to the city, so you took him there yourself. Now he’s completely fine. If it hadn't been for you, I don’t know what we would do. Before you came, there were no doctors here. We often get sick, especially the children. We do not have clean water in our village. Every day, we have to carry water from the river but it is still dirty. It makes your stomach hurt and people die from it. Without it, many of us would not be here today.” 

Domingo Sanchez,
Health & Help patient

October 2018

No time to wait - we needed to start a second clinic

“It hit me that Vika Valikova and I had been working on the project 24/7 for two years straight, without weekends or vacations. I was tired and suggested going to Nicaragua for a week. After two days on the beach, we got bored and started looking for a location to set up a new clinic. We planned to build it later, five years from now or so. We had a list of villages that lacked access to medical help, but most of them had pretty good living conditions. There was just one village left. We got there after dark – there was no road, just an empty beach. In the morning, we couldn’t believe our eyes. This was a fishing village where people lived in plastic tents. When we asked what they did in case of emergencies, they answered ‘We pray to God.’ We realized there was no way we could wait for five years.”

Karina Basharova,
one of the cofounders of Health & Help

March 2019

We couldn’t keep up - we needed an online team

“I thought they only needed medics, but I really wanted to help the project. I wrote them a letter, and surprisingly, got an answer from Karina Basharova. That’s how I became a recruiter. I went through the applications of everyone who wanted to come to our clinics and answered every single email. I thanked every person who responded, because without volunteers, our project would cease to exist. We completed an incredible amount of work, and when we finished “putting out the fires,” we could take a breath and start thinking more strategically. It became clear we needed more people, so we expanded our online team! We had people working in PR and design, Spanish tutors, recruiters, strategists, analysts, and many other professionals. Our team now has over 50 volunteers from all over the world, and they help us grow and develop.” 

Elena Zelenevskaya,
finance and strategy director at Health & Help

January 2020

We couldn’t just drop everything and leave, so we finished building the clinic

“When I arrived in Nicaragua, Rita, a nurse, was already there. So were a few architects and a volunteer construction worker, Andrey. He left a week later, and Rita followed soon after. For the next month and a half, it was just the three of us, me and the architects. The clinic wasn’t open officially yet and we had very few patients – sometimes three people, other times ten. I did a lot of household tasks and construction work. It was really challenging, especially in 95° F (35 °C) heat. Then the architects left and COVID broke out. New volunteers couldn’t make it to the clinic and I couldn’t fly home. So I stayed. I was starting to lose my mind a little from being isolated and far away from my loved ones – and I didn’t even have the internet to stay connected. But I think it made me stronger. And despite all of this, we did finish the clinic.”

Karina Darbinyan,
volunteer doctor at Health & Help
anyone can continue the story

“I wanted to film a documentary feature about the two women who started a clinic in a remote part of the world. It was bold, I had never seen anything like it, but it turned out even more amazing than I thought. Not only did I film the project, but I stayed on to help. I was afraid that I was becoming pragmatic and would never see people truly dedicated to their work, but they showed me that anything is possible. Even the craziest idea can come to fruition and no matter who you are, you can change the world. I still support these guys and would encourage everyone to help them. Each one of us can become a part of this dream and continue Health & Help’s story by making a donation, no matter how small, to help the clinics carry on.“

Alexander Fedorov
blogger and Bad Planet documentary series producer
Karina Basharovafounder and PR director of the project Health & HelpAlex DuplyakovillustratorNikolai MavrenkovdeveloperAle Abrosimovadesigner