Just south of Mexico, this Caribbean country is home to beautiful beaches, tropical climate and rich Mayan culture. It is also home to widespread poverty and disease and that is where Hand in Hand comes in. Please join us on an immersion trip that will change lives and help you see beauty in a variety of ways!

Learn more about our programs
Louisville Appalachia|Nicaragua 


A Shift in Focus

Our immersion trip volunteers fuel our mission with their smiles, their sweat, and their financial support. Covid-19 has certainly slowed us down, but it hasn’t stopped us. Children and young adults continue learning and growing because of your support. Children affected by HIV/AIDS still receive care and medication. Hungry families receive food assistance. Home are being built and restored because of your generosity. 

We will continue to keep you up to date on our Belize trips. 

Our Work in Belize


Our work in Belize began in 2002. Wayne Fowler wished to expand our mission in the Caribbean and sought the advice of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCNs) who had long standing operations in Belize. The sisters connected Wayne to Mark Thessing who had recently finished his 2 year commitment as a Jesuit volunteer. Mark saw housing as the greatest need in Belize, followed by HIV/AIDS care and prevention.

Continued growth of our programming has led to the construction of the Fowler Community Center which has become home to all our Belize programs. This truly has been a blessing to our organization!

Building for Change

Hand in Hand Ministries has built over 400 homes in Belize City since 2002. Many Belizean families live in substandard housing. Hand in Hand volunteers make a difference by hammering out 16’×20′ wooden homes that keep families dry during Belize’s six-month-long rainy season. Volunteers work side-by-side with our Building for Change partners, forming close personal connections as they complete construction together.

Families must undergo an intensive screening process in order to receive a home, and are required to assist in another family’s build in a “pay it forward” sort of system. In conjunction with this program, the recipients must provide proof of ownership of their own land, assist with the building of their home and attend empowerment classes. Out of this program, the leadership team, made up of Building for Change partners, raised money to build two home for fellow Belizean’s in 2015 and 2017.

It’s hard to believe a 16’×20′ wooden house could have such a big impact on a family, a community or you – but it does. Donate now.

Fowler Community Center - Take a Virtual Tour!

Sharing the vision of our founder Wayne Fowler, Abel Vargas, Belize Director, had a dream for putting all Belize programs under one roof and finally in 2017, this 7,200-square-foot vision become a reality. Under the direction of Poncio Coc, local workers, immersion trip groups, Building for Change partners, and scholarship students worked together to build this beacon of hope for the south side of Belize.

Hand in Hand dedicated the building in January of 2018 and were blessed to have over 150 people and four television stations gather for the occasion.

It is more than an Outreach Center, it is a community center that will better equipped to change the lives of families in Belize for years to come!

Fowler Community Center includes:

  • Administrative offices
  • Building for Change office
  • Day Care
  • Early Childhood Education Center
  • HIV/AIDS Outreach Services
  • Nursing stations for consultation, testing & medical care
  • Meeting space for empowerment classes
  • Patio space for fundraising event
  • Pre-School morning and afternoon sessions
  • Support group meeting space
  • Tutoring Center for Scholarship Services
  • Warehouse for building materials on site
HIV/AIDS – Outreach Center

As our Building for Change program grew, so did our awareness of the issues facing families living in poverty in Belize. We soon recognized the need to address the growing HIV/AIDS crisis, because Belize carried the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of infection in Central America. We chose to focus on the children affected by and infected by HIV/AIDS by opening the Outreach Center – a pre-school and day care, in 2005. In the early years, nearly all of our children were infected by HIV/AIDS, or had an infected, or deceased parent. In addition to providing a loving environment, we monitored the children’s health, administered antiretroviral medications and often treated the pregnant mothers of the children in our program. As the children grew, so did our program.

Mobile Outreach

In 2009, with the help of a grant from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Catholic Health Initiative we were able to take our services out into the community with our Mobile Outreach Program. We now accompany about 75 children ages 1-17 in their medical journey with HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund has recognized our program as the “gold standard” for treatment of children with HIV/AIDS.

We also recognized the need for support services for our children as they entered their adolescent years. Support groups began forming in 2010 and continue providing a valuable resource for our teens and young adults as they face the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS.

Outreach Center Today

Though this devastating disease still takes the lives of some of our children, we are experiencing tremendous success. Due to declining mother to child transmission of the disease, we no longer limit access to our pre-school and day care to those who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. They are all affected by poverty, but thankfully, our intervention, and efforts to inform the community about the disease, has eliminated the need for a special school for these children.

Scholarship Programs
Bel-ScholarshipStudentsHand in Hand now offers scholarship assistance to high school and college students. Many of our students study social work and nursing. Two of our graduates are now working for Hand in Hand. Others have become catalyst for change in their own communities. Scholarship students participate in community service projects, and tutor younger students to earn their scholarships.

How can you help?
Sponsor a House
Bel-BFC1Sponsorship Levels for Belizean Houses (All homes are 16 x 20′ with two rooms) Donate now!

  • $7,000 – House with plumbing
  • $5,000 – House Only
Support Our Scholarship Students

Each year the generosity of our donors makes it possible for approximately 30 students in Belize to continue their high school and college education. For most of our students, $250 in annual support is enough to pay for books, uniforms and school fees, enough to enable them to keep reaching their academic goals. Donate now. 

Support Our HIV/AIDS Mobile Outreach Program
Bel-MobileOutreachThe loving care of our children and young adults living with  HIV/AIDS involves not only providing and monitoring medications, but also includes nutritional, educational, and emotional support. We need your help to keep their hope alive. Donate now.
Where is Belize?
Bel-MapCapital: Belize City

Population: 340,000
For more information on how to join this trip, contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.

Bel-Courtney“Never in a million years did I think that the trip would have impacted me in soooo many ways. I was able to help give an amazing young man named Freddy and his wife Naomi and his children not only a home but hope for the future. I was immersed in the rich and colorful Belizean culture. I met some of the most genuine and loving people in Belize who hold a very special place in my heart. In addition, I was able to create some new friendships and strengthen others with my fellow SXU peeps (love y’all sooooo much)! Although I was going to Belize to give myself freely in service for others, I received so much as well…love, hope, affirmation, and purpose just to name a few. Thank you Belize, and I promise I will be back!” – Brianna S.

“Everyone made me feel welcome even though I went on this trip alone.”   – John B.

” We really enjoyed working beside the Belizean family (and friends) to build the house. The trip was a perfect balance of service, work, touring and vacationing. We spent a short amount of time in Belize [City] but we felt like we learned a lot about the country, the people and the community.”   – Sandy S.