International Samaritan focuses on community-level aid to raise the standard of living in entire neighborhoods. We also focus on a very tailored and holistic approach: when we enter a community, we work with that community to understand their needs and then bring in programs that address those specific needs, either directly through International Samaritan or through partnerships with other nonprofits or government agencies.

For International Samaritan considers itself present in a community when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • We have a team of locally-hired individuals overseeing our programs.
  • We have established an academic scholarship program that serves students from pre-K through college or trade school.
  • We have at least one of our other programs present in the community.

Click the buttons to the right to learn more about our programs around the world.

International Teams

International Samaritan creates teams of individuals that are all hired locally from the communities we serve, often hiring alumni from our scholarship program. Our reason for doing this is three-fold: First, we want to increase job opportunities for the community, not take them; second, we want to make sure that the projects we conduct in the community are actually beneficial, and having a team of individuals from and dedicated to the community help ensure that; and third, if we offer service immersions in the community, we want to make sure that the students traveling with us are hearing a local perspective. 

Want to learn more about our international team? Meet them all on our staff page.

Step By Step Scholarship Program

Due to the challenges facing the community we serve, most students have to drop out of school by the end of 6th grade – either because there aren’t schools in commuting distance, tuition fees are too high, or families need the extra hands to help feed the family. Easily our largest program, International Samaritan offers a scholarship program that assists students from nursery age through college or trade school. Besides covering school enrollment fees, our scholarships are designed to assist in covering other school-related basic needs that, without them, often leads to students dropping out of school: School supplies, uniforms, transportation to and from school, and food. Our goal through our scholarship program is to give students the resources so that they don’t have to drop out of school to work in garbage dumps.

As of January 2020, International Samaritan has 715 scholarship recipients in five countries, including Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.

Health & Wellness Initiatives

Given the challenges facing the communities that we serve, many families in the communities we serve can go entire lifetimes without seeing doctors, plummeting the average life expectancy to 35 years of age. International Samaritan aims to provide continuous care through a combination of medical missions and year-round health clinics that we either build and staff or partner with.

For our medical missions, we work with both local medical professionals and U.S. volunteers to offer specialized immediate care, spanning from primary care to pediatrics to dental care. For our health clinics, we employ local medical professionals to help improve health outcomes in the communities. 

If you’re interested in volunteering on a medical mission, check out our medical missions page.


Capital Investments

25 years ago, International Samaritan started with providing family housing in Guatemala. We have continued this tradition and expanded upon it: not only building homes, but community centers, health clinics, recreational areas, libraries, communal sanitation centers, and schools. We hire contractors from the community for these projects, aiming to provide jobs as a secondary goal for our capital investment projects.

Service Immersions

International Samaritan was founded after Fr. Don Vettese, S.J., and a group of four of his students from St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy visited Guatemala City on a school mission trip. When they were diverted through the garbage dump, the five of them were moved to action: that call on their heart became International Samaritan.

We honor our origins by continuing to host service immersions with partner institutions. Our service immersions are focused on providing value to the community first: we do this by working with community members to choose the projects, hiring local leaders to direct our trips, and using partnerships in the community to create the activities that our volunteers participate in. To learn more about our model for service immersions, take a look at our newsletter on how we conduct our service immersion program.

To inquire about doing a service immersion with your institution, visit our service immersions page.

WARNING: The remaining elements of this page are under construction.

Clean Water Solutions

This section is under construction.

Parent Empowerment

This section is under construction.

School Partnerships

This section is under construction.

Nutritional Aid

This section is under construction.