My name is Dr. Peter Smith from York, England, and I have just returned from my 8th visit to the FIMRC site in Bududa District, Eastern Uganda. Like many physicians, I have always wanted to work in the developing world but found difficulty in finding work where my skills could complement and add to a situation. When I decided to travel to the developing world I was concerned about working within my capabilities. When I contacted FIMRC I actually expressed an interest in their project in India, however they took a very careful note of my CV and suggested Uganda!
Hi, everyone! As the Spring Break rush comes to a close at our sites, you can be sure that we'll have updates for you in the coming weeks. For now, though, I'd love to share an inspiring story about how just a little bit of effort and compassion can go a very long way for the communities that we serve. Keep reading! In the Fall of 2011, Project Las Delicias Ambassador Bridget McDugall and former Micro Health Insurance Program Specialist Kalli Bermingham were speaking with Vanessa, a member of the Project Last Delicias Grupo de Adolescentes en Busca de Mejor Futuro (the youth group that FIMRC works with in Las Delicias). Vanessa, the recently unanimously elected president of the youth group and a natural-born leader, was trying to weigh her options for her professional career. Vanessa's dream was to pursue a career in nursing, but due to financial constraints, this is not something she might realistically do.
Inspired by Vanessa's charisma and saddened by the sacrifices she might have to make due to her limited resources, Kalli and Bridget at once set out plans to help Vanessa achieve her dream to pursue nursing.
The cost of nursing school for Vanessa is approximately $45 a month--for a 6 year period of time, and was something that Kalli and Bridget wanted to secure for Vanessa. While Kalli carefully drew up a contract for the terms by which Vanessa should adhere to if financially sponsored to attend nursing school, Bridget went to elaborate lengths to secure funding for Vanessa's schooling.
After reaching out to her alma mater, Penn Charter School, Bridget was met with great enthusiasm and a fundraiser was organized. Here is an excerpt from the teacher at Penn Charter School, Señor Jimenez, who worked extensively with Bridget to raise money for Vanessa's education.
David Brightbill, the foreign language department chair at Penn Charter received an email from Bridget McDugall, one of his former students and a 2007 graduate of our school. Bridget wrote that she worked with FIMRC in El Salvador and was really impressed by the potential of one particular girl she had the pleasure of meeting -- Vanessa. Bridget revealed that Vanessa aspires to be a nurse, however Vanessa needs financial assistance to make this dream come true. David forwarded the message to me, as the faculty advisor for AMIGOS, the Spanish Club of the Upper School, and I immediately informed him that we would be happy to assist one of our graduates.
Upon consulting with our student leaders and the dean, we thought the most effective way to raise money expeditiously and with strong support from the student body and faculty was to sponsor a dress down day. Announcements were made and flyers were posted all over the school to encourage students to participate. Students contributed money and donned the FIMRC lapel stickers on Friday, February 17, to show their support. When the student leaders and I finished counting all the cash that was donated that day, we were humbled by the overwhelming generosity of the community. By the end of the day, Penn Charter's AMIGOS had collected $1,080 to support the educational aspirations of Vanessa.
A few days later, we invited Bridget to return to her alma mater to receive the check in front of the entire Upper School. Bridget expressed her profound gratitude on behalf of Vanessa and the FIMRC. She shared with us how the money raised will support Vanessa's education for three years. Bridget concluded by reading, in Spanish, Vanessa's handwritten thank you note all the way from El Salvador.
As a result of the fundraiser and the help of Penn Charter School, Vanessa is for now able to comfortably pursue the first three years of her nursing education at Complejo Educativo José Martí in Santa Tecla, La Libertad, El Salvador.
We at FIMRC could not be more grateful for the compassion displayed by Kalli Bermingham, Bridget McDugall and the Penn Charter School, and further by the extended efforts of Bridget McDugall and Penn Charter School. From the FIMRC family,we are so happy to have you as a part of our network, and we thank you for supporting one of our own. A little effort goes a long way, and your work for Vanessa has been inspiring.