Hope Without Borders Preps for Latest Volunteer Trip Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Note: Our own Lance Parve and his wife Julie are featured in this WTMJ4 story on Hope Without Borders.

A local husband and wife who've devoted much of their lives to volunteer work overseas are gearing up for yet another trip to assist people living in severe poverty in the African country of Kenya. Lance Parve, a Wisconsin DOT engineer, and Julie Parve, a nurse practitioner, started Hope Without Borders in 2007.

"We founded Hope Without Borders to do humanitarian, charitable, nonprofit work as volunteers," Lance Parve said.

The organization has put together roughly 30 trips to countries in Africa, Central America, and South America since its creation. Lance and Julie Parve fundraise and apply for grants to fund their work and projects, but they don't ever get paid with the money raised, and neither do the volunteers they recruit. In May, they'll take a group of 15 such volunteers, who all paid for their own airfare, to Kenya.The group is monitoring the global COVID-19 pandemic, but currently still plans to make the trip. Hope Without Borders previously traveled to Africa during an ebola outbreak.

"It always amazes me how people are willing to give up their vacation time, and open up their wallets," Julie Parve said.

"Though the years we've probably raised, with people volunteering, and with money, over $3 million," Lance Parve added.

The trip to Kenya in May includes many volunteers who are students in nursing, or nurse practitioner students. The group will begin their volunteer work by assisting with poverty relief in the Nairobi slums.

"These slums are in conditions you can't even imagine," Lance Parve said. "There's human waste everywhere. There aren't enough toilets for million-person slums."

"The people there, maybe they only eat one meal a day," he added.

One of the biggest challenges the impoverished locals face: A lack of clean drinking water.