August 11, 2017 8:20 am

10 reasons to volunteer abroad with MEDLIFE!

Written by  Aidan Wells
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1) MEDLIFE Values Volunteers

Over 3 billion people, more than half of the world's population, live on less than $2.50 a day. While statistics like this may seem bleak, they are not impossible to overcome. Poverty is a systematic issue that exists everywhere and is a cycle which MEDLIFE aims to break. The work we do would be impossible without the help of volunteers. In addition to providing helping hands during mobile clinics and development projects, many MEDLIFE volunteers fundraise year-round to help fund future development projects! 

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2) MEDLIFE Breaks down Barriers

If you are motivated and willing to dedicate your time and resources to helping others, then who are we to put barriers in your way? Our goal is to put you on the frontline of volunteering globally. There are no restrictions to join a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic or any of our other Volunteer Trips. The steps are simple: find us online, sign up, and you are on your way to being part of the MEDLIFE mission! We want to make it as easy as possible for you to help change the lives of our patients and better their communities!

3) MEDLIFE Connects with Communities

MEDLIFE is more than a one and done organization. Our mission goes far beyond what happens during a mobile clinic. There is a team of local staff at each MEDLIFE location who work directly with communities to form a lasting connection and help in a sustainable way. These local MEDLIFE teams hold night meetings with community members to discuss future development projects as well as educational workshops to prepare communities prior to mobile clinics. These workshops cover a wide range of topics surrounding preventative health education including, to name just one example,  workshops focused on women's health which encourage female community members to visit the OBGYN station during clinic. 

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4) MEDLIFE Employs Ethics 

Would you allow a first year medical student to perform a procedure on you or someone you care about? Of course you wouldn't. Why shouldn't the same standards apply to those experiencing poverty? Many NGOs allow uncertified participants to perform actual procedures on the poor, with no regards to ethics. There is no reason a person living in a low-income area does not deserve the same care and respect as a patient in a more developed country. We allow participants to shadow doctors and assist while learning, but they are never allowed to perform any procedure they wouldn't be able to do in their home countries. Our patients deserve the utmost regardless of their economic situation or living conditions, and MEDLIFE ensures they will receive it. 

5) MEDLIFE Emphasizes Education

Our education efforts are not only directed at empowering the communities we serve through educational preventative health workshops. At MEDLIFE we also believe that, to combat poverty, you must be informed, and, for that reason, we place a huge emphasis on the education of our volunteers as well. Each service-learning trip begins with a reality tour of the city through which students can gain a better understanding of the factors influencing poverty in the area. Additionally, volunteers are expected to participate in group discussions with MEDLIFE staff following clinic days for an even more profound understanding of the cycle of poverty, the MEDLIFE difference, and other important topics. 

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6)  MEDLIFE Hires Heroes

They may not wear capes, but the professionals that wear MEDLIFE t-shirts are as much of heroes as anyone you'd see on the pages of a comic. During your week volunteering abroad, you will work with the extremely committed local MEDLIFE staff. These staff members have been working to serve the poor even before they were involved with MEDLIFE. Our directors wear hiking boots to work, and their offices are the communities we work in. People like Martha Chicaiza and Carlos Benavides inspire us all to go to greater lengths to serve the poor.  There's a reason MEDLIFE hires local professionals like Carlos and Martha to be in charge. We believe in the wisdom of Peruvians fighting to help the poor of Peru. We believe in strong Ecuadorian women leading the fight for better health in the poorest communities of Ecuador. The MEDLIFE staff is an entire team of heroes who fight tirelessly to break the cycle of poverty. 

7) The MEDFund fuels future development

All public donations and funds raised by MEDLIFE chapters go towards the MEDLIFE Project Fund. 100% of donations are used in the construction of community development projects like staircases, schools, and safe homes. These projects promote access to basic necessities and skills enabling poor individuals and families to free themselves from the constraints of poverty and promoting better health, education, and personal development.

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8) MEDLIFE Facilitates Follow-Up Care

Follow-up patient care is very often neglected by the majority of NGO volunteer brigades. This is one of the major tenants of the MEDLIFE difference. Often times, a medical issue can not be resolved with one doctor's visit, especially many of the chronic diseases associated with poverty. MEDLIFE as an extensive patient follow-up care system in place to ensure that our patients do not fall by the wayside. When a patient has been entered into our follow-up program, we are and will be there for them to support them both emotionally and sometimes financially and to see them through treatment until the ailments are resolved.

9) MEDLIFE Supports Sustainability 

MEDLIFE does not simply enter a community, provide a temporary fix to a deeply-rooted problem, and leave. We function on a model of sustainability. There is a team of architects backing every development project to ensure that they are safe and long-lasting. Our field team is expected to regularly check in on past development projects to ensure that they are being properly maintained and utilized. Additionally, community members are directly involved in the creation and implementation of development projects. Our volunteers work side-by-side with community members while building staircases or homes. This ensures a greater sense of responsibility and ownership for those who will benefit. 

10) The MEDLIFE Movement Matters

Over 190 student chapters from universities and high schools in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and more have joined the MEDLIFE Movement. Our chapters are student groups that represent and promote MEDLIFE at their schools and in their local communities. MEDLIFE works 24/7 in the poorest communities from Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Tanzania even when there are no Service Learning Trips. The dedication from these chapters is what allows MEDLIFE to continue to provide sustainable assistance to low-income communities year-round. 

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At MEDLIFE, we strive to empower the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education and a safe home. Join the MEDLIFE movement by signing up for a Service Learning Trip during this upcoming year. Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to learn more!

Last modified on November 23, 2017 4:32 pm