April 18, 2017 3:26 pm

Navya Singirikonda : 50:50 Campaign

Written by Rosali Vela

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Navya Singirikonda from Texas A and M raised 3000$ in her 50:50 campaign for her Mobile Clinic Trip to Cusco. We spoke with her to find out how she ran such a succesful campaign and about her experience on her MEDLIFE trip. 

How did you first hear about the 5050 campaign?

I had a friend who did MEDLIFE last year so she told me about it, but also it was on the website.

Why did you decide to do the 50:50 Campaign?

I think it’s good awareness for people. Most of the people who raised money, who gave money, friends and people who don’t really know about this kind of thing, it was nice to bring that awareness. It also helped me, I don’t make any money, so it was nice to make some money from that.

How long did you fundraise for?

About 20 days- not long.

What did you do to be so successful with your 50:50 campaign?

I think I publicized it really well. I reached out to the people I thought would be able to help me. I’m glad I used the 50:50 versus something else. It was just better organized and kind of made the point clear of what it was for.

Did you encounter any obstacles in the process and if so how did you overcome them?

I didn’t have any issues.

How was organizing a positive experience and what did you learn from it?

Honestly I was so surprised by how generous people are I did raise a lot of money, 3000$ which isn’t small, and it was nice to see how people are that kind and willing to help me even though they don’t really know what I’m doing. So I think that was nice and probably makes me feel a little closer to some of the people that I hadn’t talked to in awhile.

How do you feel about the impact you made raising money for the people you worked with this week?

I really thought it was amazing. I noticed their gratitude, just how gentle and nice of people they are. But I think them being that way, them being willing to let me into their home, let me into their communities, makes me feel like I should keep doing that. It really was very motivational doing this. It helped me realize that this isn’t something that is crazy and out there- that I can do it all the time.

This week we interviewed Spencer Treu, President of the Winona State MEDLIFE chapter, about how the chapter's success. The chapter has been very successful, growing very rapidly, attending several trips, and brining $5000 worth of medical supplies to their recent Mobile Clinic in Cusco.

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How did you get involved with MEDLIFE? 

It’s actually a funny little story, halfway through my college career I switched from nursing to pre-med. I was at the club fair looking for the pre-med club. I thought well I’m pre-med, I should join the pre-med club. There was this table called MEDLIFE. It was two girls who had just created the club and had recently taken a trip. This was their second year doing it. I had approached them and was like 'is this the Pre-med club?' And they were like 'no this is MEDLIFE, this is way better'. I was like 'alright I’m interested, I’ll hear you out.'  They said 'we're planning on going to Ecuador this year.' And I was sold. I went to Tena last year just traveling as a member and it was truly a life changing experience. I think everyone who comes on these trips realizes what it can do for you. And kind of more than anything puts things in perspective and gives you a new world view so then you can take that back home. Whether you’re going into medicine education or whatever, just having that perspective is really important. After that trip we came back, we had a few meetings here and there, and the officers approached me and said “hey you should run for chapter president. We created this club and we’d like to keep it going.”

I said, “Ya sure I’d love too.” I was fortunate enough to get elected by my fellow members, I’m here leading this trip this year and it’s been phenomenal so far.

What has your chapter accomplished since you’ve been working with MEDLIFE?

Well actually, I think we’ve been kicking butt. Tanya and Sam were the two girls who created the club, and within months of creating the club, they were on a trip to Lima, Peru. The following year, when I joined, we did a lot of fundraiser stuff. They got a small amount of money from student senate and took another trip within 12 months of creating the club. So they had two trips underneath their belt within a very short time of creating the club. Then I took over, we got our eboard together, did some fundraising, we actually brought a little over $5000 worth of medical equipment over for this trip to Cusco. Although we are a smaller university around of 8000 students, we have 28 active members, and about 95% of our active members will travel with us. That is my biggest thing that I am most proud of with the club. Not anything that I or any of the officers have done, but just that we have a lot of passionate students an Winona State that not only get involved, but say, 'I see what you guys are doing and I want to get over there and help and not just stay on the fundraising coordination side of things.' That’s pretty inspiring to me.

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What did you do to get people so engaged so quickly?

When I took over, I thought, 'what can I do to make sure this club maintains momentum and keeps going?' I thought, if I can get people on these trips, they are going to keep going, and they are going to tell their friends about it. There is nothing better I can do than to get people to go on these trips and actually see these things for themselves, help these people, hand that kid a tooth brush, throw some cement on the floor. That’s what going to get people coming back, that’s what is going to build the organizations. From an E-board perspective we just make sure things are as easy as possible, you know, write out everything on the whiteboard, click this click that, step by step so that things are always taken care of for them. One E-board member actually took care of all the flights, so all the students had to do was show up and pay the money. A lot of these pre-med and education students are super busy in school, and we want them to get overseas with us and come on the trips, and in order to do that we gotta do kind of alot for them just to make their life easier. 

What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel throughout my life. Starting in the 4th grade, in Jamaica, I was driving through areas that from the outside you can see like wow this is different than where I’m from. At 4th grade you don't really understand what that means. You can definitely tell that the resources aren’t there. I kept traveling and seeing places like this in Central and South America, but in the first MEDLIFE trip it really hit home. I saw the medical side of things, and on this trip, I really got to be in people’s home’s and community. The most memorable part was on the reality tour this year, actually stepping inside of one of the homes for the first time. You step in, and although you might have thought what it looked like inside, it just confirms it. All of a sudden, you're upset with yourself for every time you’ve been upset about something little. You kind of just step back and think, there is a clay floor, cracked mud walls, a ceiling that is burned from cooking in the kitchen, there is no ventilation. You feel this obligation in a sense, I’m young, I’m able bodied and minded, I have this chance to turn a dream into a reality. You can’t just go home and go back to your normal life and forget about it, because that night I get home from my flight and I get back in my queen size bed, which is super comfy and awesome, they will still be going to bed in the clay house. You can’t forget about that. You have make sure to keep moving forward to grow organizations like this, spread the knowledge, spread the generosity.

Alison Jae Lenon

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How did you get involved with a 50:50 Campaign?          

My name is Alison, and I did a 50:50 campaign for my trip to Riobamba because I wanted to reduce the price for my trip but the more I did it the more I realized I want to support MEDLIFE’s cause. Especially to help low income families in Ecuador. And that really resonated with me when I finally got here and realized how powerful the 50:50 campaign is and how it really helps the people here. What I did to do that was post it on facebook and asked them to donate as a Christmas present instead of getting me an actual present it was just an overall effort from my family and friends. I raised about $1400 and half of it went to my trip and half of it went to MEDLIFE. I am really proud of myself for that.

What challenges did you face?

            I think the hardest part about the 50:50 campaign is explaining to people what they are donating too. People don’t want to just donate money and then not know where there money went. So I spent a lot of time telling people what they were donating to and why I want to raise money for MEDLIFE.  It was just really hard at first, the first four days to get people to donate to the campaign

Why did you decide to do a 50:50 Campaign?

          I did it just to help out MEDLIFE. I was looking at the videos in Riobamba and all the clinics they had participated in before, and I knew that my money was going to a great cause.

Caroline Wang

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How did you start a 50:50 Campaign?

            My name is Caroline Wang. I got started with 50:50 campaign because as soon as I signed up the website asked me if I wanted to start a fundraising campaign. I knew I wanted to fundraise my trip and I knew that the 50:50 was a good way to fundraise for myself but also for the MEDLIFE communities in general. Because a lot of these communities need the help. And for a lot of family members that would donate to the 50 50 campaign would not only be giving back to me but would also be giving back to these communities that need it.

What was your fundraising strategy?

          I fundraised for about 3 weeks. I started as soon as I signed up. It was really convenient to sign up. I sent it out on facebook, Instagram, twitter, and tried to get as many donations as I could. Especially with the holidays coming around, a lot of people were really generous. I asked for donations as my Christmas present, and that’s how I was able to rack up a lot of money.

How did you feel about the contribution you made?

         I raised about 1000 dollars and about 500 of that went to the community and it was really just humbling to see where the money was going. We visited rodrigo’s house. We saw pictures of the stairs being built in Peru and it was really just- it felt good to see that the money was being used for something useful not just for my trip itself. Meeting and interacting with the locals in the communities, it made me feel very privileged and very grateful for what I have back at home. Coming here and seeing this, I love giving back. I think its important to give back not only in our communities in the states but also globally. It is definitely something I would like to do again. I think MEDLIFE does a great job of helping communities and making sure its an ongoing project and not just a one time thing with a continued followup process.

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On January 7th, the Miami University of Ohio MEDLIFE chapter will arrive in Moshi, Tanzania for a week of Mobile Clinics From an outside perspective, it is easy to focus on the work that will be done in Moshi as the start and end of this chapter’s work, yet when volunteers arrive in Tanzania, the efforts have already started back in the United States.

Miami University, like many MEDLIFE chapters, fundraises throughout the year. Elaine Sidler, Miami University of Ohio MEDLIFE President, says the greatest source of fundraising comes from their Color Run 5k, now in its second year. The event brought in over $4,000 to bring the combined fundraising from other events to $5000.

allisonThe Miami University of Ohio MEDLIFE Excutive board.

According to Sidler, the funds were split between MEDLIFE for projects and the Oxford Free Clinic, a clinic in Oxford, Ohio seeking to provide basic medical care to underserved citizens and ensure they have access to the medications prescribed for their treatment.

A unique approach the Miami chapter has taken in preparing for their trip to Tanzania is the Pads for a Purpose event. Past president of the chapter, Allison Kumnick, came up with the idea after a MEDLIFE trip to Tanzania after observing the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products to women and girls in the area.

Kumnick learned about handmade, reusable pads from students from the Kansas University MEDLIFE chapter who were bringing them over from the United States. The pads are made from cotton stuffing enclosed in a towelling fabric and fabric square. These are cut in the shape of the a pad and sewn together to create the pads.

Kumnick was able to get funds from the Miami University Women’s Center on campus for materials. After reserving a room, they were able to get over 100 women sewing pads.   

allisonAllison Kumnick (left) helped to organize the Pads for a Purpose event at Miami University to create reusable pads to women and girls in Tanzania.

“We reserved a room in our student center and girls from MEDLIFE, sororities, and other clubs came together to sew the pads,” Sidler said. “The atmosphere was amazing; everyone was sitting with friends and talking while they made them and we were playing an awesome “Girl Power” playlist from Spotify.”

In areas with a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, reusable pads can greatly enhance women’s ability to work, go to school and quality of life. Talking about menstruation is taboo in much of the world, including the United States, but having secure access to the products necessary to deal with it is a step towards greater freedom of choice for women and girls.

Thank you to the Miami University of Ohio’s Chapters contribution to MEDLIFE as well as their support of local health initiatives. We wish them well on their way to Moshi, Tanzania.

December 12, 2016 8:53 am

UPR-RP Chapter on the rise

Written by Sam Roberson

14523248 1075804579202742 8844398243053405975 nOmar Rene Torres Ferrer es el presidente de la UPRRP MEDLIFE Capítulo. El capítulo ha visto crecimiento de 30 personas a más de 400 miembros.

Como empezaste a trabajar con MEDLIFE? y Porque elegiste MEDLIFE? 

Comencé como miembro de MEDLIFE en el 2013. Solía participar en algunas de las actividades de Servicio Comunitario, pero mi currículo académico no me dejaba mucho tiempo libre para esto. No fue hasta el año pasado, dialogando con la pasada Presidenta, que es una gran amiga, cuando decidí que debía trabajar a tiempo completo con MEDLIFE. MEDLIFE tiene una filosofía que aspiro poder llevar conmigo toda mi vida, pensé que la mejor manera de perpetuarla era impactando al capítulo de forma directa, fue por  eso que decidí trabajar como Presidente de MEDLIFE UPRRP.

Que nuevas estrategias has utilizado como presdiente de su capitulo para llevar apoyo y inspirar estudiantes a trabajar con MEDLIFE?

Creo que el “ejemplo” es la forma más rápida y efectiva de motivar e inspirar. Me gusta estar presente, me gusta participar de nuestras actividades, no tan solo organizarlas. Solamente estando allí puedo entender lo que sucede, lo que hacemos y a quiénes estamos ayudando. Yo me considero un miembro más, pero con más responsabilidades, creo que es la mejor forma de hacer que otro miembro se motive a trabajar con MEDLIFE.

En tu opinión, cual es el mejor éxito de su capitulo? 

Creo que el mejor éxito de nuestro capítulo es nuestra participación en las Clínicas Móviles. El pasado año contamos con la participación de más de 75 voluntarios entre las clínicas de invierno y verano. Para este año contamos con alrededor de 95 participantes solamente en las clínicas de invierno, por lo que esperamos que cada año este número siga creciendo.

Que hicieron para recolectar muchos fondos para Kirua?

Tuvimos varias actividades para recaudar fondos para Kirua. Sin embargo, la actividad en la que más dinero logramos recaudar fue en una llamada “Off with his hair”. Les cuento, yo tenía el cabello largo, así que la directiva y yo pensamos que sería una buena idea establecer una meta de donaciones y si alcanzábamos los $250.00 me cortaría el cabello, raparía la cabeza y lo donaría. Logramos recaudar $645.00, creo que todos querían que me lo cortara. Así que hoy ya no tengo el cabello largo, pero cuento con la satisfacción de haberle dado un giro tan extraordinario con algo tan cotidiano como dejarse crecer el cabello.

Tienes algunos consejos para otra capitulos?

Sí, les diría que nunca debemos rendirnos a lo que aspiramos. Y me refiero a nuestra magnitud como capítulos. A veces pensamos que porque somos unos pocos no podemos generar un   cambio significativo, pero impactar la vida de al menos una persona es suficiente. MEDLIFE UPRRP comenzó siendo un grupo de alrededor 30 personas y hoy somos un capítulo que cuenta con 472 miembros activos. Posiblemente los que estemos trabajando hoy no veamos los frutos de lo que hacemos, pero alguien tuvo que sembrar el árbol del que hoy comemos. ¡No se rindan!

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Cual es su mejor recuerdo trabajando con MEDLIFE?

Tengo varios recuerdos. La actividad que más recuerdo es el primer MEDLIFE Spot que realizamos, en donde nos encargamos de adoptar un espacio, que hemos visitado mensualmente, para llevar comida a los más necesitado. Sin embargo, debo decir que lo más que llevaré conmigo será cada una de mis reuniones con la Directiva. Mi trabajo, sin el apoyo de un grupo de trabajo tan extraordinario como con el que cuenta nuestro capítulo, sería en vano. Cada discusión, cada actividad que organizamos, cada conversación, cada reunión y hasta nuestras salidas como Directiva las llevaré siempre. La Directiva de MEDLIFE se ha convertido en mi familia inmediata, con ellos no solo me llevo los mejores recuerdos trabajando con MEDLIFE, sino grandes amigos que sé serán para toda la vida.

Que planes tienes para el futuro de su capitulo?

Esperamos poder impactar a más personas. Queremos que Puerto Rico y el mundo se entere de la buena labor que realizamos, queremos regalarle esperanza a aquellos que ya no la tienen. Por eso seguiremos trabajando arduamente para poder recaudar más fondos, realizar más actividades de Servicio Comunitario y reclutaremos más voluntarios que nos ayuden a llevarle medicina, educación y desarrollo a familias de bajo ingreso en todas partes.

 This interview has been translated to English

How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?

I started as a member of MEDLIFE in 2013. I started by participating in some community service activities, but my academic curriculum didn’t leave me a lot of free time. It wasn’t until last year, talking with the last President, who is a very good friend, when I decided that I should work with MEDLIFE fulltime. MEDLIFE has a philosophy that I hope to follow my whole live, I thought the best way to follow it was to make direct impact on my chapter. Because of this, I decided to work as the president of MEDLIFE UPRRP.

What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?

I believe leading by example is the fastest and most effective way to motivate and inspire. I like to be present, to participate in our activities, not just organize them. Just by being there, I am able to understand what happened, what we are doing and who we are helping. I consider myself just another member, just with more responsibilities. I believe this is the best way to work to motivate other members to work with MEDLIFE.

In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?

I think our greatest success is our participation in Mobile Clinics. Last year we had more than 75 volunteers in Summer and Winter Clinics. For this year we have around 95 clinics in Winter Clinics alone, and we are hopeful these numbers will keep growing each year.

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What did you do to raise for the Kirua project?

 

We had various activities to collect money for Kirua. Nevertheless, the activity that we made the most money with was called “Off with his hair.” Let me tell you, I had long hair, and the director and I thought it would be a good idea to establish a goal for donations, which we hit at $250,  and I cut my hair, shaved my head and I donated it. We collected $645, I guess everyone wanted me to cut it. Today, I don’t have long hair, but I feel satisfied to have made such a big change with something as everyday as letting hair grow.

Do you have any advice for other chapters?

I would say never quit working towards what we aspire to. We can have a big impact as chapters. Sometimes, we think that because there are only a few of us we cannot generate a significant change, but to impact the life of just one person is sufficient. MEDLIFE UPRRP started as a group of around 30 people, and today we are a chapter comprised of more than 472 active members. It’s Possible, some who worked then didn’t see the fruits of their labor, but somebody had the plant the tree. Never give up!

What is your favourite memory working with MEDLIFE?

I have a lot of memories. The activity that I remember most is the first MEDLIFE Spot that we did, where we choose a place to visit each month that we visited monthly to bring food to those who needed it most. Nevertheless, I should say that what most moved me personally were all of my meetings with the board of directors. My work, without the support of the extraordinary group of people that make up our chapter would be in vain. Each discussion, each activity we organize, each conversation, each meeting and outing together as a board of directors never fails to move me. The board of directors of MEDLIFE has become like a family to me, with them I do not only have the best memories working with MEDLIFE, but great life friends.

What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?

We hope to impact more people. We hope that Puerto Rico and the World will be affected by the good work we are doing, we want to give hope to those who have none. That is why we continue working hard to be able to raise more money for community service and to find more volunteers to help us bring medicine, education and development to low income families everywhere.

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