New York, Jan. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The three most recent Miss Universe titleholders from Venezuela have come together for the first time in a united effort with AID for AIDS International to launch Healing Venezuela, a new fundraising effort to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuelan babies affected by malnutrition. The campaign launched today and features Maria Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013; Stefanía Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009; and, Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008; along with three exclusive t-shirt designs from designer Ricardo Seco’s (@secoricardo) Spring 2018 collection, Healing.  The t-shirts are on sale at and all proceeds will support the mission of abating infantile malnutrition in Venezuela.

“I thought it was tragedy when I discovered in May 2016 that 1,000 mothers afflicted by HIV and with no treatment in Venezuela, had to make the hard decision of breastfeeding their newborn children and transmitting the virus to them or letting them die of hunger,” said Jesus Aguais, Executive Director of AID for AIDS International. “Today, this is the harsh reality of thousands of women with different health conditions that can’t lactate and don’t have access to infant formula, making this one of the primary causes of the disproportionate increase of deaths due to malnutrition in Venezuela. This is why it’s so important that we all help with whatever we can, to get supplies to these children and save a lives.” 

According to Caritas Internationalis, 54% of children in Venezuela have some level of nutritional deficiency and 5-6 children die of malnutrition every week.  AID for AIDS International has over 20 years of experience addressing the humanitarian crisis surrounding access to treatment for HIV and AIDS and has provided medicines to thousands of patients around the world who without their help would go without critical treatment. The organization intends to leverage that experience to bring relief to Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition and has a goal of raising enough funds to provide infant formula to mothers who cannot breastfeed due to their health condition so that they can feed 5,000 babies throughout the first 24 months of their life. 

“Nutrition is vital for all humans, especially children that are in their first stages of growth,” said Stefanía Fernández, Miss Universe 2009. “Consider that with only 30 dollars you could provide baby formula for a child in Venezuela for 30 days. Every donation could help save a life.” 

“I’m joining the Healing Venezuela campaign due to the seriousness of child malnutrition in the country, causing the loss of a large number of innocent children,” said Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008. “Malnutrition affects children not only physically but psychologically, this is a humanitarian emergency that requires the immediate and active support of all and we are asking for your help.”

Mendoza, Isler, and Fernandez worked together for the first time on this campaign with designer Ricardo Seco (@secoricardo) and Venezuelan photographer Kathy Boos. 

“The malnutrition crisis in Venezuela is a humanitarian emergency,” said Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013. “This is why we have united in solidarity for the first time, because by uniting forces the most difficult goals are achieved. Join us and help better the future of children in Venezuela.”

“I am committed to helping as much as possible to get the word out and instill awareness about the situation in Venezuela through my work,” said Seco. “Contributing to Healing Venezuela could help heal the lives of children suffering from malnutrition. As well as help build a future that will include these children’s creations, whatever they may be.” 

For more information and to purchase a Healing Venezuela t-shirt to support the cause, visit .



AID FOR AIDS International is a non-for profit organization founded in 1996 with headquarters in New York City. It runs the largest HIV medicine redistribution program in the world, and has sent over $130 millions worth of medicine to over 20,000 people in 43 countries worldwide. 

For the past two years, AID FOR AIDS has focused on the health crisis in Venezuela and has provided access to medicines to people in need as well as support to local civic organizations.





A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Sara Laudensack
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