Educational Work at Medlife

Educational Work at MedlifeWhy Education?

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), many children that finish second grade in rural areas do not know how to read or write, due to:

  • Distance to schools: the lack of schools in rural areas often forces children to migrate to schools far away from their homes, enduring long and dangerous walks.
  • Number of classroom hours: many teachers only teach Tuesday through Thursday to go home to the city on weekends.
  • Single teachers: a single teacher is one who has students in different grades in a single classroom and who must implement a lesson plan for all of them at the same time.

Additionally, poor infrastructure in communities often means that school rooms are small or non-existent, there is a lack of resources for teachers, and they are not built to properly shelter children from the elements.

Our Approach

We focus our efforts in education through our Education Workshops, School Construction Projects, and our MED Center for Primary Education.


Health Education Workshops

During our Mobile Clinics and our year-round community organizing work, we provide health education in the form of educational videos, brochures, and presentations by medical professionals. We provide information on diseases such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes, and more to help our patients understand how to prevent and treat such conditions.

Modeled after health education programs a patient would receive in the United States, our workshops focus on teaching patients about how to live healthier lives, demonstrating important health tests and screenings, answering questions, and trying to implement a culture of preventative care. 

 School Construction Projects

School Construction Projects

MEDLIFE’s first school construction project was inspired by the community of Telan Playa, Ecuador in 2010. During a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic, student volunteers noticed that 55 children, ages 5 to 13, were tightly packed into a single, small classroom. This meant not only an uncomfortable learning environment and an overwhelmed teacher but also a lack of age-specific education.

Returning home, these students took matters into their own hands, organizing nationwide fundraising events with MEDLIFE Chapters across the USA.

6 weeks after our students visited Telan Playa for the first time, MEDLIFE student members had fundraised enough money to build a second classroom for the school. Since then, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education has provided a list of schools in the country most in need of additional classroom space.

We have since expanded our school construction work to all of our sites – with notable projects in Ecuador, Peru, and Tanzania.

All Our School Projects

Educational Work at MedlifeThe MED Center for Primary Education

MEDLIFE worked with our longtime partner community of Union Santa Fe on the outskirts of Lima, Peru to build a physical structure to meet their self-identified needs: the Wawa Wasi. An effort in sustainable development, the idea for the building came from concerns expressed by community members that there was no safe place to leave their children while they went to work.

Instead of building a parallel educational system, we proceeded to work hand in hand with government programs already in place to address the need. In Lima, the government has designated an education program called CUNAMAS to children from 1 to 2 years. This program provides food, childcare, and education to children in low-income communities. Unfortunately, to qualify for the program the community must have a suitable and safe environment for the children. That is where MEDLIFE came in. 

We constructed a building that could serve as a childcare center on the first floor. For a period of time, we operated hand in hand with CUNAMAS to offer childcare to families in the area. But as the community has grown and changed, their needs have also grown and changed. And to properly meet those needs, the Wawa Wasi has transitioned into to what is now the MED Center for Primary Education – the first branch of what will eventually be a much larger scale project, the MED Center.

Educational Work at Medlife

The full-scale MED Center will be a community center focused on particular development issues that the communities face. For example, some of our goals for the MED Center include offering a trade school for children and adults, basic medical and dental services, and providing a safe space for community meetings.

Outside of Lima, MEDLIFE is currently in the process of building school rooms and daycare centers for several underserved communities. But the MED Center for Primary Education is our largest scale project yet.

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.