As Founder and Director of Asociación Manos Abiertas (AMA), Hannah has over 17 years of experience in natural child birth and has assisted over 1500 natural births in Guatemala. Born in Germany, Hannah moved to Guatemala in 1988, and has four children. Hannah received her training as a Professional Midwife at Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, Texas, a border town between the United States and Mexico. There, she realized her interest in working with marginalized, high-risk communities. Prior to opening AMA, Hannah co-directed Ixmucané, a birth center located in Antigua. In addition to attending births, the clinic also provided continuing education to traditional midwives. At AMA, Hannah strives to offer affordable, high-quality health care to all women without discrimination.
Gaby serves as the Coordinator of AMA II. Gaby came to the clinic after having her first child under Hannah’s care at Centro de Parto Natural (Natural Birth Center). After this experience, she asked Hannah if she could become one of her “practicantes,” or interns. A few years later Gaby finally received the call she’d been waiting for--to assist at a birth with veteran midwife and long-time AMA supporter, Margaret Bean. Since then, Gaby has been a formative part of the AMA team. After she helped to get AMA I off the ground, the position of Clinical Director became available at AMA II. Gaby is motivated by working directly with the women she serves, as well as by continuing to provide quality services to women in the community. Currently, Gaby is attending nursing school on Fridays and Saturdays, and lives in Guatemala City with her two boys. Her goal is to advocate for midwifery training in Guatemala that combines the best of allopathic medicine with age-old traditional midwife training.
Sandra joined AMA I as Coordinator in April of 2009. She first came to know of AMA through the birth of her child, Juan Sebastian, at Ixmucané where Hannah was previously the Director. Trained as an auxiliary nurse, Sandra gained extensive experience working with low-income, indigenous women as the Coordinator for a women’s health program with the Behrhorst Foundation, a local community development NGO in Guatemala. At AMA I, Sandra’s role ranges from attending births to helping families understand their reproductive rights and options. She is also in charge of maintaining the database of clients. Sandra is currently studying health care administration at university on the weekends. Her goal at AMA is “to improve the situation that many women (in Guatemala) live in.”
Amarilis has worked with AMA since July of 2010. She previously worked with a variety of cultural projects, primarily as Financial Administrator. While making a film called “Fe,” about the situation of violence and Evangelicalism in Guatemala, Amarilis came to know the producer Gabi, who is the Clinical Director of AMA II in Guatemala City. Through Gabi, she became acquainted with AMA and has since become a crucial part of the team. Amarilis uses her incredible accounting skills to assist with all of financial matters.
Carmen’s role at AMA is to provide general prenatal, gynecological and family planning consults. Previously, Carmen worked for seven years at WINGS, a local reproductive health NGO, administering “rapid tests” (VIA) for cervical cancer. There, she learned a great deal about the risk factors for cervical cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Guatemalan women. Carmen experienced the negative effects of machismo in a past relationship and now desires to educate women about their right to family planning services and provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health. Carmen completed her auxiliary nurse training when she was 40 years-old, and her goal is to now become a midwife.