NGO Spotlight: Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children

Project Peru

The Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is a global non-profit with a mission to provide access to medical care for underserved and underprivileged familiesaround the world. FIMRC implements innovative and self-sustainable health programs and partners with a network of outpatient clinics fora multidimensional strategy that reaches across clinical services, extensive community outreach efforts and health education programs. FIMRC’s mission is accomplished through:

Project Limón, Nicaragua

  • ACCESS: Providing access to primary care for families to improve their health
  • EDUCATION: Creating a foundation of knowledge for communities to make choices that will benefit their families’ health
  • PARTICIPATION: Incorporating the local community in decisions on key health issues to address, while also incorporating the global community in volunteering to increase our outreach capability

As a non-profit working in international development, FIMRC considered its first priority to be the communities with whom they work. FIMRC is involved in nine countries from Central America to Africa to Southeast Asia, and each communities’ needs are taken into consideration in site development. This is why each site is different in the particular programs that are implemented: each community has different needs and responds differently to programs.

Project Cavite, Philippines

What makes FIMRC different from other development non-profits is that they incorporate volunteers directly into their model of intentional giving through participation. Their volunteers help on site staff in providing the incredible education programs and medical service provided to the communities. Volunteers see the direct impact FIMRC has while on site, and understand first-hand how they accomplish their mission.

FIMRC also understands that not everyone has time to travel and therefore has many other opportunities for people to get involved. They have an Adopt-a-Project program that gives 100% of the funds raised directly to the project site for a direct impact or make a general donation to FIMRC. Additionally, anyone can start an FIMRC Chapter at high schools, colleges or within any community!

Project La Merced, Peru

To learn more about opportunities to volunteer with FIMRC in Peru, India or a host of other countries, search for them on the UniversalGiving website!

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Finding Peace in India

By Janet Oh* 

“Ear clean?  Rickshaw?  Guesthouse?  Boat ride?”  After travelling in India for a week, I needed a break from being a tourist.  The constant offers for services and subsequent haggling was exhausting.  I soon developed a habit of avoiding eye contact, looking down, and just shaking my head “no.”  In trying to develop some street smarts, I had also lost my sense of humor.

On a flight from Udaipur to Varanasi I met another traveler, Tanya, from Switzerland.  Tanya caught my attention immediately.  She was smiling, laughing, and just generally having a great time.  She was the traveler I wanted to be.  My husband and I struck up a conversation with her and sure enough she loved everything about India.  “It’s so beautiful!” she said again and again.  She had been traveling in India for seven weeks.  What was her secret?

Tanya said the highlight of her trip was volunteering for a week in an orphanage.  She and a friend taught math classes and tutored kids.  She was clearly moved by the experience.  Unknowingly, she had planted a seed.

48 hours later I emailed Rashmi, the Director of the one orphanage I knew in India.  My husband and I ended up there two days later.  For the first time on our trip, we were out of a tourist area.  Even our rickshaw driver wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood and had to stop for directions multiple times.  It was on that village road that I started to feel more like myself – happy, carefree, curious, and open.

Janet pushing Arpeeta on the swing, in Haridwar, India

When we finally found Sri Ram Ashram, it felt like we had entered an idyllic paradise.  The orphanage was on 17 acres with its own wheat fields, dairy cows, and vegetable garden.  Immediately, the girls took my hand and the boys gave Graham a tour.  It was as if they were expecting us.  “Push me on the swing, didi!”  “Watch me hang from this tree!”

For three more days that’s basically what I did.  I got to know the kids, pushed the little ones on the swing, and learned the Indian version of hopscotch.  To say I was volunteering would definitely be a stretch since the kids had really taken me under their wings, welcoming me with total warmth, showering me with attention, and teaching me the ropes.  Not only did they seem happy and well-loved, but they were kind, generous, and playful.  They all asked me the same question, “How long are you staying and when are you coming back?”

Just as it was for Tanya, my visit to the orphanage was a highlight of my three week journey in India.  While there are many selfless reasons to volunteer abroad, there are also selfish ones.  My time at the orphanage was definitely the most authentic of all my interactions in India – a time when I could take a break from being a tourist, laugh, be open, and connect with others.

Explore volunteer opportunities abroad!

*Janet Oh volunteered with us at UniversalGiving in 2012. Looking to work for us? Keep an eye on our job opportunities here.

“That incident taught me to think independently and is giving me courage even today.” – Prithvi Mattur

At UniversalGiving, we ask important questions of our Interns and Returnees during the interview process.  It helps us understand more of who they are and their motivations. We can then provide them a superior Internship or Returnship experience. It also helps them gain clarity and purpose as to why they are joining us.
Below is from new team member Prithvi Mattur. She’s from India, and helping us with our Executive Assistance and Social Media.
Here’s her answer to one important question:
Please tell us a challenge you faced and what you learned from the experience
  
“A very common problem an Indian girl faces is discrimination. Women in the Indian society have been considered as inferior to men for many years. Due to such inferiority, I  have to face various issues and problems in my life. I am an Indian classical singer and I wanted to audition at National Radio Station. I was not allowed to audition or sing on TV (because I was a girl). This time I didn’t keep quiet and I went to the audition without anybody’s permission. I took a very bold step, which resulted in my selection. Out of 300 people only 4 were selected and I was one among them. From that incident, I learnt not to withhold my desire to achieve something in my life. That incident taught me to think independently and is giving me courage even today.”
 Singing
May we all have the courage of Prithvi. May you accept that challenge today — and break down the barrier you are facing.
Do not do it just for yourself, people need your example. Everyone’s life helps others have courage, have hope.
You can make that  8 mile hike.  You can make an intimidating sales call.  You can fight the discrimination, forgive the person you think you can’t, love the neighbor you just don’t think you can.  
Yes you can.

Finding Peace in India

This is a post from UniversalGiving team member Janet Oh, about an experience on her recent trip to India.

“Ear clean?  Rickshaw?  Guesthouse?  Boat ride?”  After travelling in India for a week, I needed a break from being a tourist.  The constant offers for services and subsequent haggling was exhausting.  I soon developed a habit of avoiding eye contact, looking down, and just shaking my head “no.”  In trying to develop some street smarts, I had also lost my sense of humor.

On a flight from Udaipur to Varanasi I met another traveler, Tanya, from Switzerland.  Tanya caught my attention immediately.  She was smiling, laughing, and just generally having a great time.  She was the traveler I wanted to be.  My husband and I struck up a conversation with her and sure enough she loved everything about India.  “It’s so beautiful!” she said again and again.  She had been traveling in India for seven weeks.  What was her secret?

Tanya said the highlight of her trip was volunteering for a week in an orphanage.  She and a friend taught math classes and tutored kids.  She was clearly moved by the experience.  Unknowingly, she had planted a seed.

48 hours later I emailed Rashmi, the Director of the one orphanage I knew in India.  My husband and I ended up there two days later.  For the first time on our trip, we were out of a tourist area.  Even our rickshaw driver wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood and had to stop for directions multiple times.  It was on that village road that I started to feel more like myself – happy, carefree, curious, and open.

Janet pushing Arpeeta on the swing, in Haridwar, India

When we finally found Sri Ram Ashram, it felt like we had entered an idyllic paradise.  The orphanage was on 17 acres with its own wheat fields, dairy cows, and vegetable garden.  Immediately, the girls took my hand and the boys gave Graham a tour.  It was as if they were expecting us.  “Push me on the swing, didi!”  “Watch me hang from this tree!”

For three more days that’s basically what I did.  I got to know the kids, pushed the little ones on the swing, and learned the Indian version of hopscotch.  To say I was volunteering would definitely be a stretch since the kids had really taken me under their wings, welcoming me with total warmth, showering me with attention, and teaching me the ropes.  Not only did they seem happy and well-loved, but they were kind, generous, and playful.  They all asked me the same question, “How long are you staying and when are you coming back?”

Just as it was for Tanya, my visit to the orphanage was a highlight of my three week journey in India.  While there are many selfless reasons to volunteer abroad, there are also selfish ones.  My time at the orphanage was definitely the most authentic of all my interactions in India – a time when I could take a break from being a tourist, laugh, be open, and connect with others.

Explore volunteer opportunities abroad!