Medlife Project Fund

Development Work at MedlifeWhy Development?

Of the 27 million people living in Peru, more than half of the population lives in poverty, and approximately ¼ survives on just $1.00 a day. Many have migrated from rural and Andean regions in search of economic opportunities, leading to rapid population growth in Peru’s cities. This mass migration and the resulting overpopulation lead to the creation of urban slums outside of larger cities like Lima. These pueblos jovenes, or shantytowns, have expanded rapidly into tracts of invaded land that largely lack basic services such as waste management, electricity, and access to running water.

In rural communities, such as those we work with in Ecuador, residents face difficulties due to geographic isolation and unequal allocation of resources. For example, only 14% of the rural population in Ecuador has access to proper sanitation. A lack of education and economic opportunities contributes to rural poverty and also encourages migration.

Our Approach

Above all else, MEDLIFE is a community development organization. Long before we ever begin a Mobile Clinic, our local community organizers are in the field connecting with leaders, gauging the community’s level of organization, and listening to their needs.

We work hand in hand with communities to develop teamwork, their leadership structure, social capital, and trust. Everything we do is 50% supported by MEDLIFE and 50% supported by the community we work with. And thanks to this approach, communities commonly continue to progress and improve their current reality.

We focus our efforts on development through our Development Corps, Community Night Meetings, and Monthly Giving.


Development Corps

Lack of infrastructure and basic resources is a reality for the communities we partner with. Many live without electricity, water, bathrooms, nearby schools, and more. The MEDLIFE Development Corps is a specialized Service Learning Trip for groups of engineering and architectural students or graduates seeking to volunteer and assist in the planning and construction of community development projects.

Learn More

Community night Meetings

Night Meetings are usually held on weekday nights after work and are open for all MEDLIFE staff to participate. These meetings, led by the Director of MED Programs Carlos Benavides are intended to engage the community members in the process of coordinating clinics and development projects.

We start by listening to their needs.  As people explain the problems that they face in their communities we start to understand how we might be able to help.  In many situations the community knows exactly what they need, they might say, “we need a staircase” or “we need a water reservoir”.  In those communities, our job is pretty easy, but other times community members may describe the problems they face and we have to help them find a solution.

These meetings are truly special opportunities. They offer the opportunity to meet the community and hear directly from them on what issues are affecting them and how they will work together to resolve the issues.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.