Cambodia. Phnom Penh. 2006. MAGNA HIV/AIDS clinic. © Martin Bandžák/MAGNA
MAGNA operates internationally and provides assistance to children and their families in need, including victims of natural disasters, wars and conflicts. In the field we have doctors and medical staff but also technical and other specialists who provide humanitarian assistance and help to treat children and their families.
Founded in 2001 in Slovakia by Martin Bandžák and Denisa Augustínová and based on their direct experience of the AIDS epidemic in Cambodia, MAGNA began providing medical assistance to disaster victims around the world. Through MAGNA hospitals we provide health care, medicines and food for children and their families.
MAGNA intervention in 2017:
Cambodia. Phnom Penh. 2006. MAGNA HIV/AIDS clinic. © Martin Bandžák/MAGNA
Health projects are primarily aimed at saving lives and alleviating the suffering of those in need. Armed conflicts and an unstable political situation have a devastating impact on ordinary people. Common consequences, often associated with inadequate local health services, are direct violence, forced displacement, epidemics, famine and psychological trauma. Providing medical assistance to victims of conflicts and crises is a top priority for MAGNA workers. Alleviating suffering from infectious diseases which are neglected by local structures is another major area of MAGNA's focus.
The organization aims to provide adequate treatment and care for people affected by diseases such as HIV / AIDS, cholera, malaria and others. MAGNA also responds to the needs of people who are excluded from access to basic health care and helps victims of natural disasters.How We Work
South Sudan. Juba. 2018. Camp for displaced persons. © Martin Bandžák / MAGNA
Independence: MAGNA operates in accordance with its own principles. The activities of MAGNA are in no way influenced by political entities or internal or foreign policy of a particular government.
Impartiality: MAGNA works with strict respect for political and religious neutrality and impartiality.
Non-discrimination: MAGNA does not accept any form of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnic origin, religion, nationality, belief or social class.
Free and direct access to victims: MAGNA bases its activities on the need for free access to victims and full independence in its projects. MAGNA endeavors to obtain all necessary means to achieve this goal. The organization manages the distribution of its resources directly to ensure that they reach the target population.
Ethics: MAGNA bases its activities on legal and fair practices that are guided by ethical principles, including strictly avoiding child abuse and firm respect for key social rights.
Professionalism: The conceptualization, implementation, management and evaluation of MAGNA programs is always characterized by high level of professionalism. MAGNA uses its experience to maximize efficiency and resources.
Anti-corruption: MAGNA refuses to directly or indirectly support fraudulent conduct and works hard on minimizing the risks of corruption in carrying out its activities.
Transparency and accountability: MAGNA is committed to fully and transparently accessing its beneficiaries, partners and donors by providing access to information on the allocation and management of funds. The Organization undertakes to provide all necessary tools to ensure the proper management of its activities.
MAGNA is a signatory to the ICRC / NGO Code.Financial transparency
Cuba. Tarara. 2000. Facility for children from Chernobyl. © Martin Bandžák / MAGNA
The idea of establishing an organization that will bring testimonies and provide medical assistance for children from crisis areas around the world came in 2000. At that time, photographer Martin Bandžák and psychologist Denisa Augustínová returned from a medical facility for victims of the Chernobyl disaster in Cuba. They spent several months on the spot documenting the stories of children from Ukraine and Belarus who suffered from various anomalies and serious diseases even 15 years after the tragedy. Located a few kilometers from the capital of Havana, the "Tarara" was used to hide these children from the world. Their stories then shocked the public and were published in many Slovak and Czech media.
Based on this experience, the MAGNA organization was established, whose basic pillars are:
To be able to choose freely a place to provide health and social assistance.
In times of humanitarian crises, to intervene quickly where it is most necessary and to help children and their families, regardless of their ethnic, religious or political interests.
To create innovative health projects to help individuals.
To document the fate of disaster victims and bring testimonies from forgotten parts of the world that would otherwise not reach the general public.
MAGNA was founded in Slovakia in 2001.More about the founders of MAGNA
Cambodia. Phnom Penh. 2003. MAGNA HIV/AIDS clinic. © Martin Bandžák/MAGNA
AIDS in Cambodia - In 2002, thousands of people fell victim to the AIDS pandemic that struck the country and caused enormous loss of life. The parents who succumbed to the disease (it is reported that up to 250,000 people died from AIDS-related diseases during this period) left behind their orphaned children, many of whom were infected already at birth, were dying on the streets without any medical assistance. There was no state-organized health care in the country; international organizations such as Doctors without Borders or Doctors of the World gradually began to treat adults, while others stood by. The dysfunctional health system and extreme poverty of the affected population did not allow the families to take care of their children. There was nobody who would provide the necessary medical treatment to the infected children, the so-called "second wave".
Martin Bandžák and Denisa Augustínová became eyewitnesses to this tragedy. Pragmatically and with great dedication, they began to address the situation and opened a facility for the treatment of infected children in the capital Phnom Penh. They provided them with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment that saved many of their lives. They called up teams of medical professionals from Slovakia, taught local doctors and involved them in their work. Within a few months, MAGNA set up treatment for its first patient and became one of the first organizations to begin to attend to pediatric patients with antiretroviral therapy.
Martin Bandžák says: “In 2002, we found HIV-positive children in Cambodia in local orphanages who were tied to a bed, without medication and without anyone to take any interest in them. That made us do something; we began not only to document their stories but also to treat them. We have created a system that has saved many of their lives.”
Our first patient, Rana, is 18 today and lives and works in Phnom Penh. Like thousands of other children whose lives we helped save. Today, MAGNA is a leader in the treatment of HIV / AIDS and continues to provide assistance to HIV / AIDS victims in Cambodia.
Since then, MAGNA has set up medical missions and has deployed its teams to save children's lives and to alleviate the suffering of those in need. In order to protect human life, we document their destinies and bring testimonies that would not otherwise reach the general public.
DR Congo. Kinshasa. 2009. A destroyed hospital. © Martin Bandžák/MAGNA