As you head back to school for the new academic year, we’re expanding our Service Learning Trip options so that everyone can volunteer in Peru and beyond! As the MEDLIFE Movement has grown over the last 15 years, our Service Learning Trips have evolved with us. We are striving to include students from all disciplines (not just health and medicine!) so that we can give you more opportunities to learn AND continue empowering low-income communities through medicine, education, and development. 

Our confirmed dates for our new Service Learning Trips are below, but remember that these trips can be planned for any date and you can volunteer in Peru (or our other sites) at a time that works for you. 

Why Service Learning Trips?

We believe that real change starts from within: You must first experience the realities of poverty first hand before you can truly be part of the solution. By diversifying the Movement beyond the original Mobile Clinic, we are not only giving passionate students the opportunity to see the world through new eyes, but also creating long-lasting, sustainable change through specific projects, education, and healthcare.

With these new Service Learning Trips available, MEDLIFE is offering you the opportunity to take your education beyond the classroom by becoming a volunteer in Peru, no matter what you’re passionate about.

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1. Development Corps 

Historical, social, and political factors combined with a lack of urban planning have led to a rise in the informal land occupation on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Members of these communities seek safe public spaces for recreation and leisure, but the inhospitable land, scarcity of public space, and a lack of financial resources have continued to get in the way of progress. MEDLIFE is working to change that through Development Corps.

Development Corps is a week-long Service Learning Trip that allows students interested in architecture, engineering, and community development to volunteer in Peru. You will work hand in hand with local professionals and community members on a development project in urban settlements on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Your trip will empower impoverished communities by constructing safe public spaces where kids can play, young people can hang out with their friends, and families can spend time together. 

Upcoming trips*

  • January 11 - 19, 2020

  • March 14 - 22, 2020

  • May 16 - 24, 2020

Register now!

 

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2. Education Workshop 

With low levels of English education, inappropriate infrastructure, and outdated teaching methodologies, the children of Peru are struggling to get an adequate education. This stifles their opportunities to chase their dreams and fulfill their potential as they grow up. 

Education Workshop is a week-long Service Learning Trip with long term impact. It allows students interested in teaching to work hand in hand with local professionals to bring quality education to low-income communities on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. This trip will empower local students and their families by providing a variety of quality, immersive educational activities. As a volunteer in Peru, you will have the opportunity to lead activities that foster the development of soft skills, like teamwork and creativity. Education Workshop also gives local students an opportunity to practice their English and teaches them about healthy habits, like handwashing and toothbrushing. Volunteers will also help create a positive environment by building kid-friendly learning spaces at schools.

Upcoming trips*

  • December 14 - 22, 2019

  • May 23 - 31, 2020

Register here!

 

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3. Dental Clinic

In our regular Mobile Clinics, the dental station is consistently one of the most-requested services, but the dentists are only able to treat 15 patients a day. The high demand led to the creation of Dental Clinic, a Service Learning Trip dedicated entirely to the type of health services the communities have requested. 

Dental Clinic is a week-long Service Learning Trip that allows students interested in dentistry to volunteer in Peru and support a Mobile Dental Clinic in low-income communities surrounding Lima, Peru. Volunteers will shadow local dental professionals as they provide free, high-quality dental care directly to people who lack access to basic services. Volunteers will provide support in a variety of roles including patient registration, station set-up, instrument preparation, and will also shadow dentists throughout procedures like extractions, fillings, and cleanings. Students will also have the opportunity to lead workshops with kids about dental health providing them with the tools to lead healthier lives.

Upcoming Trips*

  • January 11 - 19, 2020

  • February 29 - March 8, 2020

  • May 23 - 31, 2020

  • August 1 - 9, 2020

Register now or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to find out more information

 

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4. Leadership Corps

Cycles of poverty and inequality are deeply intertwined with a country's historical and political circumstances. In order to create a world free from the constraints of poverty, we must first understand its root causes. 

Leadership Corps is a two-week Field Course that gives student leaders the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the underlying causes of poverty. Through academic discussions and field visits in Peru and Ecuador, volunteers will learn about social inequality and how it has been shaped by internal migration and urbanization. This trip will explore key issues faced by local communities and examine the work that MEDLIFE and other local community organizations undertake to support low-income communities. Students will hear from MEDLIFE’s founder Dr. Nick Ellis and key local community leaders on how the MEDLIFE Movement was born out of the communities you visit.  

Upcoming Trips 

  • June 13-28, 2020 (TBC)

Register today!

See you on the next Service Learning Trip!

*The listed dates are for confirmed SLTs, but these trips can be planned for any date if we have enough volunteers. 

A critical part of every Mobile Clinic is the Patient Follow-Up Program.

When patients are simply referred to local hospitals for treatments, many times they still fail to receive the actual treatment they need due to lack of resources, lack of confidence, or lack of a true understanding of their medical problems. And that's why MEDLIFE developed a year-round patient follow-up process. Our patients are supported in many ways, beyond traditional medical care. We provide financial resources for treatments, emotional support, nutritional assistance for malnourished families, and educational resources to help individuals better understand their conditions.  

By participating on a Service Learning Trip, our MEDLIFE volunteers are not only providing much-needed medical care at the Mobile Clinic but also ensuring that communities receive holistic support beyond their week of service. 

Keep reading to learn more about some of the follow-up patients in Lima! 

Supporting Lima Follow-Up Patients

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MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics bridge the gap between communities with limited to no health resources and quality medical care - and that’s how we connect with patients like Señor Eder.

When we met Señor Eder, he was suffering from stomach pains. Having started eating less because it hurt too much, he was in critical need of quality healthcare but had limited access in his home community of Ventanilla. Staffed by local general practitioners, our clinic provided Señor Eder preferential treatment - a full physical exam and routine tests to figure out the cause. And when it was determined that additional tests were needed, he was enrolled in our patient follow-up program where he will continue to receive quality medical care and support from MEDLIFE until he is healthy again.

Liam

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When you meet Liam, you can’t help but smile. He is an energetic, happy 3-year-old boy from San Gabriel de Villa Maria Triunfo, a community on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. With all his energy, you almost can’t notice that he is unable to move his arm or hand.

Our MEDLIFE doctors have cited a possible circulation issue, but we don’t know for sure what’s wrong. Liam is enrolled in MEDLIFE’s Patient Follow-Up Program where doctors are administering tests to find the cause and hopefully a cure. But no matter what, our team of dedicated doctors and nurses are committed to supporting Liam and his family in any way possible to offer him a happy, healthy future.


To continue supporting our follow-up work, donate to the MEDLIFE Project Fund today! 

MEDLIFE is proud to announce an alliance with LATAM Airlines to fight against anemia in communities throughout Peru. With the support of an international airline, our Movement is able to expand our medical, education, and development work to new communities and empower hundreds of people in the fight for a world free from the constraints of poverty. 

Keep reading to learn more! 

Anemia: Malnutrition in Impoverished Communities 

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Anemia is a condition when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells, causing fatigue, hunger pains, pale complexion, and a host of other side effects. It is a global issue that impacts a large portion of Peru’s rural populations, mainly due to poor diet and living conditions caused by poverty. In fact, a census conducted by the Integrated Food Security Program (PISA) in Chiclayo identified that the prevalence of anemia was found to be 15% higher in communities considered ‘poor’ (1) — such as the ones where MEDLIFE works. 

In Peru, some studies have been conducted on the prevalence of anemia in rural areas, of which two groups prevail: children from 0 to 5 years of age and adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age (2).

The condition can largely be attributed to iron deficiency, occurring in both children and adolescents because they are in a period of rapid growth. During these growth stages, the body requires more iron and its deficiency could have two main negative effects on the person: decreased cognitive development and productivity. 

1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/15648265060274S406 
2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3402/gha.v7.22888?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Building an Alliance 

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With the goal of connecting their primary platform, travel, and a larger social impact, LATAM Airlines Peru joined the Pachacutec Foundation to launch Cocineros que Vuelvan - Chefs that Fly - which aims to support young people in their dream of becoming a chef and in turn give back to their communities. The winners were selected to study at a top culinary school and as part of the award receives a Mobile Clinic in their home community. That’s where we step in. 

LATAM Airlines and MEDLIFE joined together to identify schools in the cities of Ayacucho, Jauja, and Jaén — the home communities of the winners — where we could work hand in hand to prevent and reduce iron deficiency in anemia.  

Our educational efforts will continue for two full academic years, during which time our MEDLIFE medical professionals will provide nutrition education workshops - for both parents and students. As with any of our educational workshops, we focus on teaching about how to live healthier lives, make intelligent decisions about their diet, and trying to implement a culture of preventative care. 

Spread across six schools in the three communities, our team of nurses is working hand in hand with 124 children to teach good nutritional habits and the benefits of eating well. Additionally, we are making home visits and hosting parent workshops to encourage families to support our efforts at home. 

LATAM Airlines has, in turn, supported us both financially and by giving our work recognition. The backing of an international airline extends our credibility and connects our organization with new opportunities to bridge the gap between impoverished communities and quality healthcare and education

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As our alliance continues, we hope to expand our reach and continue working toward our goal of preventing anemia in communities in Peru. More updates to come soon!

To provide long-term, quality healthcare, MEDLIFE’s work goes beyond a week of service - and facilities like the MED Vida Dental Clinic are a great example of how our efforts are made possible. Fully staffed by local dentists, MED Vida has proven to be a positive impact for hundreds of community members where we work in Lima, Peru

Keep reading to learn about the dental clinic’s story!  

MED Vida’s Foundation

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During a Mobile Clinic, the dental station is often the most requested services. However, due to a limited number of staff and supplies, dentists are only able to treat 15 patients a day. Furthermore, they are only able to offer basic treatments. 

Prior to the construction of MED Vida, if a patient required further treatment our team would be unable to provide the much-needed care at the clinic site. And while patients would be enrolled in our Patient Follow-Up Program, they often had to travel far from their community to receive quality dental care. Our team of professionals felt there must be a better solution.   

Thus, it was decided that a full-service, permanent dental clinic would be built in an easily accessible location for the communities MEDLIFE works with. In February 2018, we opened an office centrally located in the district of Villa María del Triunfo - where you can find hundreds of communities and over 3,000 community members that directly benefit from MEDLIFE’s work. With its convenient location, many of these community members can easily commute to the clinic to receive dental care. 

A Positive Impact

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Open six days a week, our Movement can now provide quality dental health to dozens of patients each week. Complete with a fully trained dental staff and technological equipment, our team offers community members cosmetic treatments and other walk-in services like at any other full-service dental clinic. Beyond that, we also refer patients that we meet on Service Learning Trips to MED Vida and provide them with care at subsidized costs. There are over 70 treatments and services available, including extractions, fillings, cleanings, and more. 

According to Dr. Jorge Vidal, who both oversees MED Vida and is a full-time dentist at the clinic, the greatest need for these communities comes from a lack of access to professional dentists. MED Vida has three full-time staff members as well as three specialists who can provide treatments. 

In addition to medical care, MED Vida serves as an outlet for dental health education. The dental professionals provide brochures and consultations on the importance of dental hygiene and care to help patients understand, prevent, and treat oral health conditions. Vidal pointed out that community members are generally not accustomed to preventative care. If they are coming to the clinic, they already have a problem. Through our educational efforts we are trying to change that mindset, he said. 

Year-Round Patient Care

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With permanent community structures like MED Vida or the MED Center for Primary Education, our organization can provide year-round sustainable care to community members - even when we don’t have active volunteers on Service Learning Trips. MEDLIFE works hand in hand with communities 24/7/365 to fight for equal access to health, education, and a safe home.  

If you feel inspired to continue our dental health work, sign up for a Dental Clinic Specialty Service Learning Trip or donate to the MEDLIFE Project Fund today! 

June 26, 2019 1:31 pm

Building Silvio a Safe Home

Written by Anjali Thakrar

To empower the poor in the fight for a world free from the constraints of poverty, our MEDLIFE Movement works side by side with communities to provide a safe home for everyone!

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At a Tena Mobile Clinic, Ecuador Director Martha Chicaiza asked a local school teacher which of her students was in the most need - and she said Silvio. The teacher explained Silvio and his sister were abandoned by their mother and their father had passed away, so they now live with their grandmother who does not have a job to provide the children with medical care and a safe home.

Martha and the Ecuador MED Programs team immediately went to the house and found him at home, sick with stomach pain due to parasites and laying on the wooden floor with a blanket draped over him. The house didn’t have any walls - only draped plastic garbage bags to protect them from the elements - and there were no beds or pillows. Silvio’s father had started building the house for his family but passed away before he could finish. 

After visiting Silvio, Martha determined that MEDLIFE would complete the house along with Sumak Kawsay Wasi, a government organization in Tena, and dedicated a Service Learning Trip group to facilitate the project. 

Sumak Kawsay Wasi hired professional architects and builders to construct the walls, while MEDLIFE volunteers helped paint the house and assemble beds for the family. They built shelves for every room as well as an adjustable flap door to cover the top of the staircase to prevent accidental falls down the stairs at night. Our team also supplied antiparasite medication to each of the family members to fight against any current or future infections. 

After almost 12 hours of work, the space was improved from a dangerous and uncomfortable structure to a safe home where Silvio and his family can live, learn, and grow. 

Silvio House


Continue supporting MEDLIFE as we fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home for all in the communities surrounding Tena, Ecuador by donating to the MEDLIFE Project Fund or signing up for a Service Learning Trip! 

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