Many of you may have noticed that Project Bumwalukani has recently changed to Project Bududa. DON'T PANIC! We're still serving the community of Bumwalukani proudly, but there are several reasons why altering the name to Project Bududa fit with our mission. Read below to find out why!
Native communities have a long history in Peru that makes them skeptical to seek medical services. A long-standing goal of ours has been to find ways to bridge the gap between access to healthcare and the needs of communities where we work. After a year of building trust, understanding the needs of the community and identifying excellent health care workers, we finally took a leap.
2016 was a year of reflection, improvement and continued growth. In fact, it was our biggest year yet! We have been thinking about all of the accomplishments in our communities across the globe, and here are just a few of the highlights.
During her recent volunteer trip to Costa Rica, photographer and journalist Brittany Salerno documented a patient's well child visit with clinic physician, Karen Herrera. Brittany's film provides a great glimpse into the patient centered care provided at Project Alajuelita.
We sometimes have the privilege of having the perspective of volunteers on our blog. This time we had the privilege of having the perspective of Dr. Daniel Griffin who volunteered at Project Restauración in the Dominican Republic.
Dinah has been working with FIMRC since 2015, where her joy for travel brought her to Project Peru. Since she was little she's been traveling, and has now lived in 5 countries and visited 35 countries! She's been a huge factor in improving our two sites in Peru, Huancayo and La Merced, where she now calls home. Dinah is full of love for life, and we're grateful for everything she does!
We are excited to announce that FIMRC will be participating in GivingTuesday on November 29, 2016. This year's campaign will benefit our project site in Alajuelita, Costa Rica. 100% of funds raised this GivingTuesday will go towards the purchase of new medical equipment for our clinic as well as the supplies needed to expand our reach through mobile medical clinics.
We take our mission very seriously, and participation is a HUGE part of FIMRC’s success, and can bring about challenges when participation is low. In Nicaragua, this is seen through all three forms of participation: the community, the staff, and the volunteers. All these people help to make up the FIMRC family, and we are so grateful for the work they do in improving health and awareness within Rivas.
Nutrition is an important component of health, no matter the issues that a community faces. In the Dominican Republic, we have expanded our outreach to work with Mothers' Centers in the area and focused on nutrition. We're whipping up delicious recipes and involving our mothers in participatory education.
In the final installment of our photo series, we explore FIMRC's early efforts at Project Anconcito, Ecuador. We are currently focused heavily on integrating into the community and developing relationships with local institutions, leaders, and community members to truly understand the current health needs.
Anconcito is served by one government-run health center, which provides free health services to every person with an Ecuadorian ID card, regardless of income or insurance status. In the second installment of our photo series, we explore the current health services available to Anconcito residents.
Anconcito is a small fishing town of about 14,000 people, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean on Ecuador’s west coast. There has recently been an influx of fishermen and their families from other coastal towns in search of more lucrative opportunities, which has put a strain on the fishing industry and on the town’s already limited infrastructure.
Photographer Stephen Huff joined us at our newest project site in Anconcito, Ecuador. During his time with FIMRC, Steve was able to capture beautiful images of the community, our programs, and the dedicated staff and volunteers that make our work possible.
Many homes in Kodaikanal and the surrounding communities have one room homes, where the stoves and chimneys have open fires. The dangers in having open fires within the household not only lie within the air, but also create a dangerous environment in other areas, such as burns. Learn about how FIMRC identified, gained an understanding, and reacted to this reality so many families face in Kodaikanal, India.
In order to showcase the accomplishments of our Fellows, we have created a SIHF 2016 Impact Report. While it is impossible to capture the scope of the contributions that were made this summer in just a few short pages, we hope this report helps to highlight the ways in which our Fellows have left an undeniable mark on our sites around the world.
Are you interested in learning more about the medical field, hoping to gain volunteer experience, or simply seeking a way to give back while exploring the world? If so, look no further. Here are five great reasons you should start planning your FIMRC volunteer trip today!
None of us here at HQ can believe how quickly the summer has come and gone! At the beginning of the summer, we introduced several of our interns, including three HQ interns. We cannot begin to describe how grateful we are for their hard work and dedication throughout their time at FIMRC. No matter the task (and yes, there were some boring tasks), they had a smile on their face and were determined to perfect the project with which they were tasked. But instead of telling you about their experience, we wanted you to hear it from their own perspectives.
My service to FIMRC was originally 1 month, but turned into 6. I wanted to actually PRODUCE something tangible and make an impact. Every assignment in my life before that was theory based papers. I created a 6 week teen pregnancy prevention program with the help of Dr. Stedem and Tatiana. I ran the program with 2 different groups. This was a profound experience and I ended up staying in Costa Rica until May 2015 teaching English. I learned to speak Spanish fluently and found my calling, physical therapy, while I was down there.
Patrick Kelly, an undergraduate student at Temple University, participated in the Summer International Health Fellowship (SIHF) in July of 2016. During his time in Huancayo, Peru, Patrick worked with several other Fellows on a project aimed at helping teenage mothers improve their self-esteem and creating projects that could help them gain an income. He reflected on his time with the teen moms, explaining how they were able to begin achieving FIMRC's goals.
"Project Bumwalukani has truly been an adventure I will never forget. From testing patients for malaria to rafting on the Nile, my two months here were filled with experiences I couldn’t get anywhere else." Matt O'Keafe volunteered during the SIHF Sessions I and II, and wrote this piece reflecting on his experience.
Although there currently are no volunteers at Project Las Delicias, the FIMRC mission is alive and well! As time at Project Las Delicias has passed, Dra. Tania began noticing a change that was needed; with the help of FIMRC staff and volunteers, she has begun to implement programs that center around teenagers. Two programs in particular that were started earlier this year are the Parenthood Planning Program and the Empowering Teens Program.
According to UNICEF, 2.5 billion people lack hygienic sanitation facilities and 768 million people drink unsafe drinking water; of these people, women and girls are disproportionately burdened by poor sanitation and water inequities. These statistics are what motivate Jasmine to pursue work in the fields of social justice and health equity and what makes her passionate about the success of her social impact start up Wish for WASH. Ultimately, Jasmine seeks to utilize design to advocate for universal health.
We get a LOT of questions from both volunteers and their parents about the safety aspect of travel, project sites, and excursions that volunteers experience while with FIMRC. Even knowing our commitment to safety, sometimes the only thing that can help that worried feeling is a first hand testimonial. We decided to share the perspective of Kamsela, a parent of a recent volunteer, on how FIMRC handled safety for her son during his FIMRC experience.
By the end of SIHF 2016, our Fellows will have logged 24,480 hours of service. WOW! We are so impressed by the dedication we see each and every day. But it's not work 100% of the time...our Fellows know how to have fun too! When the weekend rolls around, you will find FIMRC Fellows hiking glaciers, scuba diving, taking safaris, and in general, making the most of every second of SIHF 2016! Thank you to all Fellows who submitted photos of their summer adventures - check them out below.
FIMRC's Summer International Health Fellows have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with community members and to contribute to innovative health improvement programs. Not only do Fellows assist with daily clinical operations, they are also instrumental in driving forward our public health initiatives. With only two weeks remaining of this year's fellowship, we couldn't be more proud of all that our Fellows have accomplished.
Each year, FIMRC recognizes chapters from across the globe for their outstanding efforts and contributions to our organization. The chapters of FIMRC are one of the most important aspects to fulfilling our mission, and we are incredibly grateful for everything they do.
This past February, Claire Koepke volunteered at Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica. Claire's unique skill set proved incredibly useful when she was able to lead a Yoga lesson at our clinic. Below is an excerpt from her blog about the experience!