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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NGO Spotlight: BiblioWorks

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BiblioWorks: strengthening communities through literacy and education

BiblioWorks is a nonprofit that promotes literacy and education in Bolivia. Their mission is to provide communities in need with tools and resources to develop sustainable literacy and educational programs through schools, libraries, and cultural institutions.

BiblioWorks was created in 2005 by a former American Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, Megan Sherar, and her brother. They fell in love with the country and decided to address the inadequate infrastructure interfering with Bolivia’s access to some of the most critical things on earth: literacy and education. Literacy and education are the first steps towards progress for every community in every country around the world.

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Today, this non-profit organization is managed in Bolivia by a team of dedicated Bolivians who understand the needs of both the organization and each individual library. The local team also helps BiblioWorks stay connected with the various communities to make the libraries lively and useful; they work closely with the local authorities to focus on the needs that people express in every community in which they intervene. After more than ten years of dedication, BiblioWorks is proud to run a network of fourteen libraries in the city of Sucre and in the surrounding countryside.

BiblioWorks is convinced that literacy and education are best spread by a fruitful exchange among cultures, identities, and origins; and therefore welcome volunteers from all across the world to work with them in their varying libraries. It is a great way for people to share their differences and learn from one another. When a volunteer comes from another country, their stay in Bolivia is an opportunity to know more about a new culture and learn Spanish as well. It is also an amazing chance for the children to be confronted with diversity.

Volunteers play a great role and make a direct and personal impact on the libraries theyimage.do
work with. For example, if a volunteer has some dance skills, they can set up a dance workshop. Additionally, as most of the volunteers are fluent in English they can provide the kids with basic English lessons. Often, what is considered simple or usual for a volunteer can have a great value for a child and can genuinely impact their lives. When volunteers come from abroad to BiblioWorks’ libraries, everyone benefits from the experience.

The BiblioWorks libraries would not exist without the plurality of actors that participate in the life of their organization; from the board in the United States to the team in Bolivia, from the volunteers coming from across the globe to the kids attending the libraries.

If you are interested in donating to BiblioWorks or participating in a volunteer trip to Bolivia, search for them on UniversalGiving.

Exemplary Nations for Women: Cabo Verde & Palau

It is important to support countries that are socially responsible. Our CEO Pamela Hawley tells us about Palau and Cabo Verde!

Adobe Spark (8)Cabo Verde, previously known as Cape Verde, is a drought-prone nation made up of ten islands located about 500 km off the west coast of Africa. Although the country lacks natural resources, they have a strong reputation for their efforts to create political unity (BBC 2016).

Cabo Verde is also taking a strong stance for women’s equality, as nine of seventeen cabinet positions and three members of the supreme court are women.

Palau is another island nation that has developed a social structure where women are highly respected. Palau is made up of 200 islands located in the western Pacific Ocean (Palou 2014). Palau is a great model for many nations, specifically because their inheritance regulations have supported women for hundreds of years. They believAdobe Spark (13)e in a matrilineal system, meaning that descent is determined by the mother. The emphasis on female kinship ensures that descendants inherit property based on a natural female lineal link. This long-held belief helps Palau sustain strong woman’s rights, such as ensuring that women receive equal pay to their male counterparts.

It’s nice to see these countries providing greater opportunities for women as a natural part of their culture.

It is important for us to support women and these small socially responsible countries. Next time you are planning a trip, consider traveling to socially responsible nations. Our tourism can benefit Cabo Verde and Palau which are two of the Top Ten Best Ethical Travel Destinations of 2017.    

Additionally, we can support women who do not have the benefits of living in a matrilineal nation like Palau by helping them gain access to family planning. 

“Palau.” Countries. Infoplease, 2014. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

“Cabo Verde Country Profile.” BBC News. BBC, 16 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

The Rickshaw Puller

Here’s a blogpost from Anshu Priya, who used to work for our marketing department! We love this story and think it promotes a great mindset to go into the giving season with!

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I grew up in a household where giving and sharing was part of everyday life. And for that reason, UniversalGiving’s motto and overall objective really resonated with me. I was born in India. In one of the poorest states of India, in fact. Bihar. Poor not just in terms of people not having money, and basic food and shelter, but in terms of low access to healthcare, clean water and so on. We were fortunate to be born into a household that did not have to fight for survival, and where we could afford luxuries from time to time.

My grandfather was part of the Gandhian movement, and that meant that he believed in equality and a minimalistic lifestyle. Also, sharing and caring for those around us was not something that was considered a virtue. It was just something that was intrinsic to our lives, and the family went about doing it without expecting to be lauded for it in any way.

I had often seen my mother go out of her way to help those around us – even though she was a single parent of two children, and I had to watch her spending continuously to make sure we had a reasonably good lifestyle. The message we always got from her was one about compassion, about counting our blessings and helping those that were less fortunate. One particular incident stands out for me, and I will try and retell it as closely as I remember it, since this happened many, many years ago.

It was morning, and we were getting dressed for school. That chaotic time in a household when everyone wishes they had those extra ten minutes – to sleep in, to finish their breakfast, to polish their shoes. There was a loud, urgent knock on the door. We were not expecting anyone, so my brother (who was little at the time, maybe six) and I looked at each other and wondered who it might be. My mom took the door, almost exasperated that the already chaotic morning schedule was being derailed somewhat. She opened the door to find this old man, looking exhausted, famished and just generally unwell. It was summer, and the heat and humidity in Bihar can take everything out of you. My mother first offered him a drink of water, which he gulped down at record speed, and then asked why he was there. He said in Hindi “ Joota wali didi kahan hain?” meaning “ Where is the shoe lady?”

Ma said she didn’t understand, and then they went on to have a conversation about it. Turns out, every time my mother would board a rickshaw (a manually pulled basic mode of transport used a lot by people who do not own/drive cars), she would be heartbroken at the sight of the rickshaw pullers who did not own footwear and who were forced to peddle their rickshaws barefooted in the scorching heat. Along with paying them for the ride, she would also give them extra money so they could buy themselves a pair of basic footwear. She later told us that she had done this for a lot of them. And this particular one had found out about Ma and came right to her door to ask her for help. Ma helped him out with some food supplies, a pair of clothes, and of course some money for him to buy shoes. She let him go after telling him that he should respect our privacy and not send any more strangers to our door for safety reasons!!

The old man smiled, nodded, thanked her profusely and left after showering his blessings on my brother and I.

I have never felt more proud of my mother. In all this, what struck me most was that she had not mentioned a word of this to anyone. In this world where we tend to scream out about every little thing we do, this selfless act of silence stayed with me forever.

I have used Google to pull up an image of a rickshaw similar to the one she used then to get around about town.

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How One Day Changed my Life

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by Kerry Rodgers

“While traveling in South Africa 6 years ago, I volunteered for one day at a wonderful non-profit in a township outside of Cape Town. It was serendipitous, as one of my traveling companions had a personal connection and invited us to join him for the afternoon. The experience was transformational – I walked away deeply inspired about the work of community-based nonprofits. Although we were only there for a couple hours, I became an ongoing supporter of the organization. It occurred to me that this one day was a win-win: the nonprofit had a new contributor and, for me, it was the most memorable day of my vacation.

I sat on the idea of replicating my experience in South Africa for many years. In the meantime I began volunteering every chance I could get. I went to Haiti for weeks at a time. When I came home, I became intently focused on the question: How can I work to get more people to care about what is going on in Haiti and in other places facing enormous challenges?

I realized that my interest in global issues began on that one day, in South Africa. Maybe experiences like mine could be replicated across the globe? I shared this idea with some friends who had similar ideas, and then Give A Kerry_websiteDay Global was born!

By donating one day of your vacation to a local nonprofit, you can make a difference in international communities while creating meaningful memories and life-long friendships. We believe that it’s not what you can finish in a day that matters – but what you can begin in a day!”

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We believe that there is no better way to describe what volunteering is than through the words or our friends and partners who give back to our global community.

For Kerry everything started that day

At UniversalGiving, our goal is to provide you the opportunity to have an incredible volunteering experience. Who knows, maybe you will discover a new passion!

Here are some of our partners looking for incredible volunteers:

1. Give a Day Global
2. Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
3. WAND Foundation
4. Biblioworks
5. Green Cameroon