Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children


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.


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Yes, I recommend this program

FIMRC: Virtual Global Health Volunteer Experience

I participated in FIMRC's Virtual Global Health Volunteer Experience as a way to volunteer my time in a global setting while the COVID-19 pandemic restricted international travel. I loved learning about the important work that FIMRC does in various countries through reading articles, watching videos and participating in Zoom meetings with staff members. I was able to help contribute to this work by creating presentations, quizzes, activities and infographics teaching locals about pertinent diseases and how to prevent them. In all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering, learned a lot, and gained valuable experience promoting global health from my own home.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice to have more opportunities for Zoom meetings observing FIMRC staff working onsite.
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Enjoyable and Accessible Introduction to Global Health

This volunteer program was truly an amazing experience! The program's virtual aspect made it highly accessible despite travel restrictions due to COVID and also allowed me to connect directly with FIMRC members and volunteers from project sites located around the world, providing insight about global health in numerous different countries. The breadth of virtual shadowing opportunities was impressive ranging from primary care and chronic disease observations to psychology consultations to pharmacy sessions. The staff were always so enthusiastic and happy to answer any questions from volunteers and to share their knowledge and experiences making it a wonderful learning opportunity. In particular, the case study discussions as well as the pharmacy live observation sessions where virtual volunteers were able to get a taste of what volunteering in person might look like, lent themselves to creating an interactive and engaging experience. I had started out only enrolled in a single session, but it quickly became a second and then a third because of how much I enjoyed the program and everything it had to offer.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Perhaps most surprising was the opportunity to translate and deliver prescription instructions for medications over video call for people coming to pick them up from the clinic. It was an experience I would have never had otherwise and was a wonderful opportunity for being directly involved despite being part of a virtual program. The people picking up medications as well as FIMRC's staff were all so kind and encouraging. It was such a valuable experience learning to work with a communication barrier due to speaking different languages.
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Amazing Virtual Global Health journey

Ahh! My three-month journey with FIMRC was just awesome!! At first, I only enrolled for one month and later got it extended to two and then three months. My area of focus was Asia and Africa and I engaged deep in a particular healthcare and associated topic each week. By the end of twelve weeks, I covered all the eimportant topics such as chronic diseases, maternal and child health, environmental health, etc. I also took up the book ‘Mountains beyond mountains’ by Tracy Kidder as a part of my fellowship and it was a great read. We had case studies by discussions particularly about the management of various acute and chronic illnesses in low resource settings. My volunteer project was ‘Health promoter program for FIMRC Kodaikanal, India’.

For me, Sessions on environmental health were very interesting. I am particularly inclined to climate change and health. We could expect more climate related catastrophes and associated challenges in the healthcare system. I believe in tailoring our entire health system to meet these challenges. My biggest takeaway from FIMRC is the lively discussions and the new things I learned from the FIRMC team. Also, I loved the way FIRMC handles projects all over the globe, including India. The experience changed me a lot as FIMRC is the second international organization I work with. I got to learn new things, met new people, had many interesting talks about almost everything in the world. All of these will stay with me, molding as a sweet memory.

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Yes, I recommend this program

FIMRC's Global Health Leadership Training

I believe FIMRC did a great job teaching the students more about fimrc and how it's run as well as enhanced our knowledge towards the global health topic! I have learned so much throughout this program, from different career introductions, to what FIMRC provides to their different sites. I would be honored to visit one of the fimrc sites in the future and get further involved with FIMRC! The staff is so welcoming and helpful and enhances our fimrc experience greatly! Keep up the great work FIMRC!

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly believe this program is great for how it is! I loved my experience with FIMRC as all the staff were super welcoming and helpful and definitely would like to visit one of the sites in the future!
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Yes, I recommend this program

It was a great program

They had shadowing opportunities which really gave a taste of what telemedicine is like and would help future practitioners get used to the changes in the delivery of healthcare. The shadowing also enabled me to see how doctors treat patients in low-resource settings (by minimising the usage of medicine and emphasising on a nutrition plan specific to the disease instead.) The case studies was also really interesting and allowed you to see the various types of illnesses commonly present in underserved regions.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I chose to volunteer at Project La Merced, Peru with FIMRC because I wanted to experience a culture and health system I had almost no prior experience with. I hadn't learned much about Peru in the past, and this trip really exposed me to how diverse and unique Peruvian culture is, as well as the nature of living in Peru. Additionally, I knew FIMRC was a reputable organization that would provide me with the volunteer experience I sought.

How did this trip have an impact on your future?

As a prospective immunologist, this trip has helped me understand worldwide health issues from a a more informed perspective, and caused me to consider conducting research in areas with higher need than the U.S.

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

My local FIMRC chapter Medical Mission Coordinator helped me apply for this experience, and guided me through registering for the US State department program and gave us other forms to complete. I had to apply for traveler's insurance on my own. Once I was accepted into the La Merced program, I was given further instructions on booking plane tickets and submitting my passport (which I had to renew on my own), and I had to arrange a special doctor's visit to get the yellow fever vaccine (which is offered in very limited locations). I also visited my college health center for a traveling consultation to get any other vaccines or medication I needed. I had to figure out what plane tickets to get on my own, but all transportation from the Lima airport to the project site and back was taken care of.

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

After volunteering in Peru, I learned a lot about the difference between voluntourism and true sustainable volunteering. I was forced to reconsider my views of people living in different countries and environments, and reconsider my definition of privilege. I would encourage anyone going on this program to keep an open mind because of these reasons. You won't have all the familiar comforts at home, and it takes some time to adjust any time you travel. If it's your first time traveling out of the country or far from home, I would advise you to be more aware of your surroundings than you normally would and understand that things won't be as they are portrayed in the media. Overall, be able to work past any situational challenges and have a good time!

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

The day starts by waking up at either 7 or 8 am for breakfast. After that, you go to your morning activity which can range from shadowing a specialist at the hospital, assisting at a pediatric center, running a workshop for kids in indigenous communities, to doing trash pickups. You come back to the homestay for lunch, and then head out for your afternoon activity which is different from your morning activity. Then, you return for dinner and have free time to explore! You also have the weekends off to explore the surroundings. Sometimes you have special outings to nearby communities, and larger groups get a special orientation activity- a scavenger hunt in the middle of La Merced!

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

My biggest fear was adjusting to the living situation, because my morale is affected a lot by whether I am comfortable in the place I sleep. Peru was quite hot and humid, even in January, because it was the rainy season there. There were more bugs than I was used to, and the toilet system is different. I felt quite lethargic a lot of the days, and it was difficult to complete some of the volunteering activities under the hot sun. After some experience, however, I was able to get over these minor issues like bugs and appreciate the experience I was having. It helped to have fellow volunteers experiencing similar challenges, because we could help each other. And there was always BioFresh ice cream to cool off from the heat!

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.