FIMRC

Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children

About

The Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of families in the developing world through innovative and self-sustainable health programs. Operating since 2002, we have grown to ten project sites in nine countries including: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Uganda, India, Ecuador, and the Philippines. With a team of over 3,000 dedicated staff and volunteers, we assert a multidimensional strategy that includes clinical services, extensive community outreach efforts, and targeted health education programs.

What sets FIMRC apart from other organizations is our focus on sustainable community based programs and our commitment to keeping our locations open year round! For our volunteers, this translates into knowing they are contributing to ongoing programs that address current community needs as well as the flexibility to travel at any time.

Website
www.fimrc.org
Founded
2002
Headquarters

1518 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

Enroll now for the Summer International Health Fellowship!

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Reviews

Default avatar
Madison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The staff with FIMRC, especially at the Anconcito sight, made our trip amazing. We went as a group of 15 volunteers from an university. Everyday is different and robust with community activities. You never will be bored or feel like you didn't get to achieve something. Lusia's relationship with community makes you feel like you are a member of it from the second you arrive from the guest house. I am a college student and do not have a ton of medical experience, but the staff allowed us time to practice and brush up on our skills. The guest house and cooking staff was so accommodating to personal allergies or other needs. They made us feel at home in a place many miles away. I am so thankful for this experience and couldn't recommend it more highly.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every opportunity and explore the local communities!
Sukhi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with FIMRC in the summer of 2018 at Project Kodaikanal. This experience was so unique and different from everything else I've done! With FIMRC, not only did I have the ability to make a real impact on the lives of others, but I also have an opportunity to find myself. This program can truly change your outlook on your world! I learned so much in the span of a month, met so many new people, experienced a new culture, and explored a beautiful country. However, the best part was definitely working with kids and families. It lets you see how the work you do directly affects those around you! Its truly rewarding to know that I was part of something that has and will continue to better the lives of families in Kodaikanal. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone interested in global health, or a career in medicine!

Default avatar
Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a truly life changing experience last year while volunteering at FIMRC’s project site in Nicaragua. It was so rewarding to be a part of such a great organization and to see the positive impact that FIMRC has on the local communities. This was especially evident when, after a devastating hurricane, FIMRC staff assisted in the intensive relief efforts following the storm and floods. I was lucky enough to be involved in this relief work and got to see firsthand how FIMRC supports local communities. So many families lost everything in this hurricane and FIMRC helped organize the disaster response including collection of donations, acquisition of necessities including food, water, and medical supplies, and the dispersal of these resources into the communities. This work with FIMRC was truly an inspirational and unique opportunity that I will always cherish. While volunteering at FIMRC I felt like I became part of the family down there in Nicaragua, and I will never forget how *special* FIMRC’s Project Límon and Nicaragua are to me.

Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on a trip with the La Crosse Chapter of FIMRC at UW-La Crosse and I can’t say enough about how great the experience was. We went to Project Anconcito in Ecuador and I met some of the most amazing people. The Site Manager Natalie was the most pleasant passionate person I’ve ever met and everyone was so welcoming. Not only did I have a blast but I learned so much there. I dearly miss my amazing host family who did such a fantastic job of making my friends and I feel like family. Can’t wait to return to Ecuador as well as additional trips to the other FIMRC sites all over the world!

What would you improve about this program?
Literally nothing. Amazing experience
Default avatar
Jodi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned so much more than I could've ever expected to during my time at Project Restauracion! The culture, the language, medical experience, and so much more. I will forever cherish the amazing memories I made with the people of Restauracion and fellow SIHFers. FIMRC does an amazing job preparing you for your volunteer trip, and is there to help you every step of the way with any questions you might have.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 25

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Brock Willett

Brock Willett is a senior nursing student and fitness enthusiast. His passion for traveling comes back to wanting to make the world a healthier and better place.

A guy holding a small card.

Why did you choose this program?

Foundation of Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is a club on Oakland University campus, the school I go to. When attending one of the information sessions on my campus, I was inspired by what they stand for, and I knew I wanted to learn more about this program. After the information session, I checked out their website and social media. I found these to be extremely organized and well-structured. When I contacted them, they had great communication and customer service.

They gave us time off during the stay and allowed us to do excursions. They would even help set up the excursions by contacting the places and helping with transportation.

I have been on two trips now with FIMRC, and I truly know that this was the best choice for me.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The one thing we had to organize on our own was the flight there and back. It was optional and free of choice because they wanted it to be flexible between airlines and prices.

For the most part, everything else was handled. Home stay and transportation were included into a set price. However, if you chose to do an excursion, then you would have to pay for this separately. FIMRC was always amazing at helping set up safe and easy transportation.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Make sure you do some site-seeing and excursions. The time goes a lot faster than you think, and before you know it, you're on a plane back home.

Try doing some research on where it is your going; it helps to know what can be culturally acceptable and what isn't. Also, try to learn some of the language before you go. It’s a great way to connect with not only the locals but your home stay as well.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Being a participant in this program can vary on location or on what you get to do and don't get to do. Make sure you read about your location prior to going.

An average day/week on my trip to Costa Rica was laid out like a typical work week in the United States. You would wake up and have breakfast at 7 AM and catch the transportation bus by 8. We would then work at the clinic from 9AM to 5 PM roughly, with a half hour lunch break. This was your typical schedule Monday - Friday.

After each work day and on the weekends, you are free to do excursions, hangout with your host family and whatever else it is you would like to do.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was afraid that there was going to be a language barrier. Although I knew some Spanish, I knew certain places have different dialogues with how they speak. This was frightening to me. How would I get to places? How would I order something? A bunch of questions came into my head, and I tried to prepare for all of them. However, when I got there, I realized I had overreacted. More people than I thought spoke English, and the others were very understanding.

My views drastically changed as I continued my time there. People were just happy that you were helping them, and I learned new innovative ways to communicate with individuals. Do not let your fears deter or frighten you. Grow and learn from them.

Tell us a little more about you and a story about the trip you went on?

I am a senior nursing student at Oakland University. This summer, I was able to attend one of FIMRC’s amazing locations, Costa Rica. This was not my first trip with FIMRC, but it was by far my favorite.

The way you are able to immerse yourself into a community such as Costa Rica’s is incredible. During my stay, I was able to rotate through the clinic in all different areas, which helped me become an all-around better medical professional. Being able to check patients in, work in the pharmacy, and even being hands-on with actual nursing skills was an absolute joy.

There was one particular experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. A woman came in with severe skin decay related to a dog bite that she acquired. As I assisted in the help of cleaning, dressing the wound, and even at times holding the patient’s hand, I was mesmerized by the strength and courage she had that day.

Moments like these cannot be read in books or studied. These are truly life-changing moments that place a smile on my face when thinking about them. I cannot thank FIMRC enough for the opportunities and memories I will forever have!

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Delaney Scollan

Job Title
Volunteer Coordinator for FIMRC, Project Limón, Nicaragua
Upon graduating from college, Delaney sought to combine her dual interests in Spanish and health care by accepting a 3-month long internship with FIMRC, Project Limón, in rural Nicaragua. Three months turned into three years and a new FIMRC position as the site Volunteer Coordinator, in the town of Las Salinas, and Delaney grew more and gained more than she ever imagined she would. Now, with appreciable understanding of the trials associated with public health and healthcare in an under served, developing country, Delaney is currently working towards attending medical school in hopes of one day returning to FIMRC as a OB/GYN.
woman holding a baby in nicaragua

Did YOU study / intern / volunteer abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I studied abroad spring semester of my junior year of college, from January to June 2011, in Alcalá de Henares and Madrid, Spain. I was lucky enough to be part of a dual abroad program that combined two colleges, my own, Skidmore College, and Tufts University. This program was rich in integrating students into the language and culture of Spanish society as well as providing us with immense art and travel experiences through weekly museum visits and monthly excursions to different cities and towns in Spain. I choose this program for its host family component and strong dedication to language assimilation. The semester combination of academia and travel was so fulfilling. Likewise, it was thrilling to live six months in Europe and easily travel to so many different countries. During my semester abroad I visited France, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria which ignited and furthered my addiction to travel.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think study or intern abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

While working in Nicaragua, I met two students who I thought were working internationally post-college, as I was, on account of their maturity and independence. I was surprised then, to find out that they were 19 years-old and were completing a gap year before attending college. I thought this was wonderful and wished that I had considered it when I was 18! International travel makes one more self-aware and changes one’s perspective about life and success. Acquisition of a foreign language and assimilation into a different culture greatly influences character in ways that prove beneficial in all future endeavors. Getting to see other countries and learn on a first-hand basis helps individuals make more informed decisions about future career and academic paths. I believe (and hope) that within the next 10 years, international education will be a more standard and highly encouraged component of secondary and university programs.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Cultural immersion comes through communication, which can only be obtained through language assimilation. Thus, learning a foreign language opens the door to understanding others, which is critical in terms of world policy and health, as well as something as fundamental as a friendship between people from different nations. One becomes more open-minded and more compassionate when learning the language and ways of life of others, since language assimilation is such a humbling experience. While living abroad I have come to love parts of the cultures in which I was immersed, and though different from US customs, I have adopted them and incorporated them into my own life. Through learning Spanish, I have gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with so many more people around the world and, more importantly, provide adequate translation in a medical setting, which is of up most importance for patients as well as healthcare providers.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for FIMRC in rural Nicaragua has had a profound impact on my life and my character. I’ve become more confident and self-aware through having learned most things the “hard way” and having to convey what I needed without knowing the Spanish words, like “toilet paper” for example, in moments of crisis! I’ve learned to live with less and have acquired a new-found perspective on what should be valued in life and the importance of achieving happiness and success based on one’s own standards. I have gained appreciable patience while working in Nicaragua and feel confident in my abilities to work independently. Some of my greatest challenges have occurred in this job setting, thus, to have overcome them has proven incredibly fulfilling. Contrarily, some of my fondest moments have occurred at FIMRC, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

Our FIMRC site partnered with a photo journalist to showcase our Women’s Health program, as a means to raise funds for a new OB/GYN consult room. As the photographer took photos of the women, I asked each of them to comment on FIMRC’s work in the community and express their thoughts on our programs. Their answers were touching: some women told me that it “was a blessing that FIMRC founded a site in their community.” Others said that they “are so lucky to have professional services at such fair costs and they they hope we never leave.” Many women hugged me after talking. I was moved by their appreciation for our services and felt so proud to be a member of our incredible team.

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