Every year, dedicated MEDLIFE Chapter leaders have the opportunity to apply for the 7-week MEDLIFE Internship based out of our headquarters in Lima, Peru. 

Our 2019 interns worked closely with the MED International Team and helped run summer Service Learning Trips in Lima. They also shadowed our nurses on patient follow-up visits, community night meetings, and health workshops. Our interns also joined our annual 2-week Leadership Corps retreat with founder Dr. Nick Ellis and Chapter leaders from across the globe. They journeyed through Ecuador and Peru, visited our partner communities, and learned about the social issues that inspired the creation of MEDLIFE.

The MEDLIFE Internship is a fantastic opportunity to learn in a dynamic non-profit environment, experience professional and personal growth, and gain unique hands-on experience in the community development sector.

Read on to find out what our 2019 interns had to say about the experience!

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Andrea Hernandez

As a person who is constantly studying, I feel that experiences can teach way more than books or school ever would. 

Before coming on the MEDLIFE Internship I was passionate about many things, but I always knew being part of something important and big was something my heart desired. Being part of the MEDLIFE family was something that made me feel whole. Every bus ride, every early morning or long hike, was so worth it because it made me realize how big we can be when we have a passion and drive to do what we love. 

These are the types of experiences that you learn from and can benefit a person’s growth in many ways. I am thankful I got to be a part of the MEDLIFE family this summer and I can’t wait to keep spreading the Movement everywhere I go.

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Talya Grecu 

This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in the MEDLIFE Internship program. This has been an amazing learning experience during which I have learned lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. One of the most impactful lessons learned is the importance of fully comprehending the past in order to better understand the present. 

Understanding the history of Peru puts into context why we see the issues we see today. This causal understanding is a crucial part of MEDLIFE’s work as MEDLIFE seeks to address the root causes of poverty. Moreover, an awareness of the history and motivations driving people to migrate to the cities is key to providing culturally sensitive and locally appropriate help, which is another key aspect of MEDLIFE’s work.

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Amanda Burgess

During my summer internship with MEDLIFE, I was eager to learn about global health in the field. Sitting in a library at school, reading about water scarcity in Peru is a different experience than hiking through the muddy hillside of the urban settlements, or pueblos jóvenes, outside of Lima and seeing the old chemical containers that are the source of water for some houses. 

Through the MEDLIFE Internship, I have been able to enhance my perspective on global health issues that I would never have learned in a classroom in Ohio. I believe that traveling and experiencing the world is crucial to anyone studying global health and I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to intern with MEDLIFE this summer.

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Kate Byars

You wouldn’t think that hiking for hours on a steep, muddy, high elevation path to sleep on the floor of an unheated school with over a dozen strangers would be one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. As my mom so eloquently put it: it sounds a lot more like boot camp than the beginning of an internship.  

Throughout my MEDLIFE Internship, I realized that discomfort is a good thing. It pushed me to understand that global poverty is not a simple thing that you can understand in a Kentucky classroom. You can’t just look at abstract academic factors, but must address the on-the-ground situation of a child that needs stitches too. Discomfort helps you to see the reality of the situation and feel desperately passionate about doing something to change it. Our place in the MEDLIFE movement, no matter who we are or what we do, is to take that passion and use our home communities and different skill sets to support people in improving their own communities.

 

2020 MEDLIFE Internships

Are you interested in becoming a MEDLIFE Summer Intern? 

Applications are open until 24 January! Apply now via Campus Labs.

Meet Roy. 

Roy is a playful 3-year-old boy living with his family in Ongoto Bajo, an impoverished community on the outskirts of Tena. Read Roy’s story to learn about how MEDLIFE fights against unequal access to high quality medical care every day. 

Access to high quality medical care in Roy’s community 

We first met Roy at one of our Mobile Clinics where we bring free, high quality medical care directly to communities who lack basic health services. Students from Universidad de Puerto Rico-Aguadilla, University of North Dakota, and Georgia State University joined us at this clinic as part of a Service Learning Trip and helped to make the clinic possible. Roy was suffering from a high fever and extreme pain in his hip at the slightest movement or touch. The pain left him unable to play, walk, or go to school and learn. 

The conditions in Roy’s community added to the challenges his family faced. Roy’s father worked hard on the farm every day to provide for his family. To make matters worse, there was limited access to high quality medical care in their community. The constraints of poverty meant that Roy’s condition continued to deteriorate, until he found MEDLIFE at one of our Mobile Clinics. 

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How MEDLIFE bridged the gap

When Roy arrived at our Mobile Clinic, our team of local nurses took immediate action and rushed him to the local hospital. After running some tests, the local medical professionals discovered that he had a critical bacterial infection in his hip. The infection had spread to his blood and was approaching his bones. Roy needed urgent surgery. Left untreated, the infection could have threatened his life. 

With the support of MEDLIFE working hand-in-hand with local medical professionals, Roy received life-changing surgery within a week. The successful surgery transformed Roy’s daily life. He is now back at school and able to enjoy being a happy, healthy kid. 

It is not uncommon for our in-country staff to face life-and-death situations like Roy’s at our Mobile Clinics. By connecting students, local services, and impoverished families, our team works to empower communities like Roy’s to overcome the constraints of poverty that make high quality medical care inaccessible. In Roy’s case, MEDLIFE bridged the gap between local medical professionals and the families of Ongoto Bajo. 

Join a Service Learning Trip to support our worldwide Movement to create a world free from the constraints of poverty, with access to high quality medical care for all! 

We’d like to thank the students from Universidad de Puerto Rico-Aguadilla, University of North Dakota, and Georgia State University for their hard work and dedication at the M40 Clinic in Tena. 

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Spread the holiday cheer with MEDLIFE this year by creating moments of empowerment. Here are 6 ideas to get you started: 

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1. Donate to our Walls That Unify project 

This year, we’re raising funds to build retention walls in the community of Union Santa Fe as part of our Walls That Unify project. These families live in a human settlement on a precarious hillside in one of the world’s major earthquake zones. Without retention walls to protect their homes, they live under the constant threat of disaster.

Would you consider donating $50 to help bring a safer home to Union Santa Fe this holiday season? You can even donate in honor of your loved ones to say thank you for providing you with a safe home for the holidays! Donate here.

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2. Organize a fundraiser

Gather your friends, organize a fun activity, AND raise funds for a good cause! What better way could there possibly be to embrace the holiday spirit?!! To make things even easier for you, we’ve put together this list of creative fundraiser ideas to get you inspired! 

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3. Sign up for a Service Learning Trip 

Service Learning Trips give you the opportunity to travel to Peru, Ecuador, or Tanzania, and work hand in hand with the local community on development projects and mobile medical clinics. These trips are designed to enhance your understanding of extreme poverty, personally connect you with low-income communities, and (hopefully) inspire you to join us in creating a world free from the constraints of poverty! Register here.

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4. Refer a friend  

Have you been personally impacted by your MEDLIFE experience? Did you learn something new during your Service Learning Trip? Do you feel empowered by empowering others? Do you even just think our t-shirts are really cool?

Spread the cheer and MEDLIFE love by telling all your friends to come on a Service Learning Trip! Not only does this give you the chance to travel with your friends, but it also grows our impact in low-income communities across the globe. The more the merrier!⠀

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5. Travel with Good Life Expeditions

Did you know that we have a partner travel agency? Whether you’re traveling as a volunteer or just looking for a Latin American/African getaway, every trip booked through Good Life Expeditions supports MEDLIFE’s work. Start ticking places off your travel bucket list by booking a trip for 2020!

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6. Shop for gear that gives back

In the age of minimalism and Marie Kondo, we all know that we’re only allowed to own things that ‘spark joy.’ This holiday season, you can spark joy for yourself and others by going for a guilt-free shopping spree on our online store. Not only is our merch actually adorable, but it also helps us build retention walls in Union Santa Fe.

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7. FOR BONUS POINTS: Apply to intern with us 

(if you made it this far in our post, you deserve a BONUS so here’s number 7)

Are you a passionate MEDLIFE Chapter leader interested in public health, international development, community organizing, and NGO communications? Our internship applications are opening very soon! Watch this space for more info very soon. 

Compiled by two ex-Chapter Presidents-turned-MEDLIFE staff (Emma from New York and Sophia from London) this list of student fundraiser ideas is guaranteed to earn you the big bucks (or pounds!). With our Walls That Unify campaign in full swing, we decided to put our linguistic differences aside for the good of the Movement and give you 15 student fundraiser ideas that will work on both sides of the pond!

1. Power Hour

We borrowed this idea from the amazing Indiana University Chapter (check out their MED Week Fundraiser here!) Get your Chapter or Society to dedicate one intense hour to calling anyone and everyone they can think of and try to raise as much money as possible. Set up as if you were a trading floor, play upbeat music and get someone to emcee the hour to create an electric atmosphere! Indiana had a screen with everyone’s fundraising totals to get members competing for the most donations!

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2. Water Pong Tournament

Encourage your Chapter/Society members to partake in some friendly competition AND stay hydrated with a water pong tournament. Set up a bracket and have teams pay to enter. The winning team receives a prize of your choice - get creative, you know your universities better than we do!

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3. Puppy Kissing Booth

Enlist the help of your furry friends and set up a kissing booth in a public area of your university. Charge students to get some puppy lovin’ and destress from a hectic week!

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4. Sports Tournament

Use your student fundraiser to get competitive! Take advantage of your University’s sports facilities to organize a sports tournament of your choice, this can be a standard 5-a-side football (yes, the original type) tournament or go for the full Dodgeball-esque experience. Get people to enter their teams, and each team pays a fee to enter! Organize a prize for the champions and a participation prize for the teams who actually believe that ‘it’s just the taking part that counts’ (also known as LOSERS).

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5. Gaming for Good

Hold a gaming night at your university where students can enter to play their favoUrite (go UK) video games for charity. Whether you do it in the form of a 24-hour marathon or a tournament is completely up to you but this is a great way to get more people involved in your fundraising!

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6. Casino Royale

Host a Casino themed night - either a whole night of black-tie (in true Daniel Craig style) or a simple poker tournament where a portion (or all!) of the winnings go to MEDLIFE.

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7. Dine and Donate

Partner with a local restaurant to have a delicious fundraiser! Encourage your students and their friends to eat at your chosen restaurant and collect a portion of the profit. Eating good food for charity… where do we sign up!?

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8. 5k/Fun Run

A little less creative student fundraiser idea but a tried and tested way to raise some money! Consider doing it as a Chapter for force in numbers and encourage more members to get involved! Use your MyMovement campaign page to receive donations from friends and family.

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9. Krispy Kreme Sale

Krispy Kreme sell glazed donuts at a special price to be used in fundraisers! Pre-order your donuts, work out how much profit you want to make per donut, and get selling on campus! Students cramming for deadlines love donuts (especially if the proceeds go to charity!)

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10. Pub Quiz

Get your students to come down to a local bar or diner for a night of trivia! Students pay to enter in teams and answer the rounds of questions you set - make sure you have a charismatic quiz master to keep teams engaged. Coordinate with the pub to see if they’ll offer the winning team a free round of drinks!

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11. Late Night Food Stand/ Delivery

Post night-out food is a given, whichever continent you may be in, so set up a stand or offer delivery to students to satisfy those late-night cravings! Pizza, chips, and grilled cheese would all work well!

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12. Spin-A-Thon

Get your sweat on in a spin-a-thon! Ask your University gym to donate some spin bikes for the day so that teams can take on a Tour-de-MEDLIFE. Doing it in a public place on campus will draw more attention and people can donate on their way to class!

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13. Raffles

Ask local businesses to donate a prize for your raffle, charge $1/£1 for a ticket and winners will receive a prize. Make sure you vary the items so you have a range of small and larger prizes!

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14. Charity Fashion Show

Raise some money, but make it fashion by hosting a charity fashion show at your university! Charge an entrance fee and enlist the help of different cultural student organizations that would be interested in showcasing traditional clothing, or introduce fun categories and really get the party started. Regardless of the type of fashion, this is both a great way to raise money and an opportunity to interact and recruit students from all over campus.

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15. Late Night Shuttle Service

Fill your tank with gas (or petrol) and crank the tunes, it’s time to be the best designated driver your university has ever seen. Offer rides to and from parties/bars for your friends and charge them a fee for your generosity. For an extra fee maybe you can even stop at the drive-thru to satisfy those late-night cravings.

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We hope this compilation of student fundraiser ideas is useful and helps you put the FUN in fundraising for 2020! As we strive towards our goal of raising $350,000 for Walls That Unify in Union Santa Fe, we need your help more than ever! Fundraising can be intimidating, but remember that you have an entire Movement of world-changers here to support you.

As always, please share your events with MEDLIFE (@medlifemovement) so we can brag about all the good stuff our Chapters/Societies are doing. Every fundraiser makes a difference no matter how big or small!

For more useful resources, check out our fundraising and donations page on Campus Labs. Good luck fundraising!!

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! 

When you meet Ventura Yumbo, there is no doubt his family means the world to him.

Our team met him and his family when Ecuador Director Martha Chicaiza reached out to the dirgentes - community leaders - and asked who MEDLIFE could support on future Mobile Clinics. They shared Ventura’s story.

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Ventura is a widower who cares for his 14 children, ranging from 9 months to 25 years old. They were living in two small houses deep in the thrush of the jungle, with only two beds which were shared amongst them all. His wife only having passed away seven months ago from diabetes, Ventura was still adjusting to caring for his family on his own.

Whenever MEDLIFE offers development support to a community member, Martha first visits the project site to make a plan. After visiting the family, it was determined that we would build a third house. Martha contacted Sumak Kawsay Wasi, a government organization in Tena, and dedicated a Service Learning Trip group to facilitate the project.

Once the volunteers arrived, our team jumped into action. MEDLIFErs hauled wood and supplies to the houses. Sumak Kawsay Wasi hired trained builders to work side by side with the volunteers to properly execute the construction of the house as well as a staircase leading up to the home. The original hillside was steep and muddy, and after hours of digging stairs and collecting and placing rocks, the Yumbo family had a staircase that provided a safer way to navigate the hill.

The youngest child, a 9-month-old baby, also had a severe ear infection due to dirty, matted hair being stuck to a cut on her ear. Nurse Valeria Maldonado cleaned the baby's ear and removed all the matted hair, and came back with antibiotics. She instructed the family on how to use them so the baby could heal.

Beyond the quality healthcare, education, and development that was offered, the MEDLIFErs wanted to ensure none of the children had to sleep on the bare floor of their new house. Together, they came up with $600 on the spot from the money they had on their person. With these additional funds, Martha purchased 8 beds, pillows, rice, and tuna for the family. An additional three suitcases of clothing were given to the entire family.

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MEDLIFE has worked hand in hand with Ecuador communities for nearly 15 years. Offering thousands of patients and communities spread across Tena, Riobamba, and Esmereldas medical, education, and development support - our work would not be possible without the MEDLIFE Movement.

To continue growing the Movement, sign up for a Service Learning Trip today!

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