Manos Abiertas, Guatemala’s only women-centered, culturally and linguistically sensitive birth- and womens’ health center, was founded in 2008 with the support of PPFA (Planned Parenthood Foundation of America) in response to the urgent
need for comprehensive services for vulnerable Guatemalan women. Recognizing the importance of local collaboration for long term sustainability and impact, PPFA approached Hannah Freiwald, a professional midwife originally from
Germany with then over 15 years of experience working in Guatemala, and asked her to lead the project. Hannah accepted the position, and together with her Guatemalan staff, developed the full service clinic project that has served
so far approximately 5,000 women and their families since its inception. Manos Abiertas focuses on providing excellent health and health education services to women living in poor, mostly rural areas of Guatemala, more than 70%
of Manos Abiertas’ clientele work in agriculture and are of indigenous Maya descent. The clinic open since 2008, is strategically located in Ciudad Vieja, Sacatepequez, an area that in spite of its proximity with Antigua Guatemala
(a destiny of international tourism) lacks health services. Ciudad Vieja is well connected by bus service and therefore is an access point even for women who live in remote areas of the country. It also provides a convenient base
for the Manos Abiertas staff to travel to the coast or the highlands for rural day clinics in order to reach out to women who can’t afford to travel.