Become a Global Health Volunteer in Nicaragua!

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About

FIMRC's Project Limón, located on the Pacific coast approximately 120km from the capital of Managua, brings medical care to rural areas of Nicaragua. FIMRC's clinic serves as home base where specialty services are provided to women and children.

Volunteers maintain important roles in the clinic through assisting with charting patients' vitals, inputting data into our electronic medical record systems, building health based curricula on topics such as proper dental care, and observing clinical interactions with medical staff. Outside FIMRC's clinic, volunteers assist with outreach initiatives such as prenatal home visits, glucose testing for diabetics, and conducting assessments for the developmental program. No previous medical experience is required!

Over the course of your trip you'll receive an unfiltered experience in health care field work abroad, and learn about the tremendous impact that even one person can have!

Flexible Booking Options & Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

We allow flexible booking options as well as virtual volunteer opportunities!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.2 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.3
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 15
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Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience ever!

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.

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Kyla
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Adventure

Going to Nicaragua to work with FIMRC and Project Limon was not at all what I expected. There really is no way to prepare yourself for the culture shock of living with people who experience an entirely different world than what you're used to. To be a part of that world and to help those people, while remaining entirely culturally sensitive and using community leaders as stakeholders, was incredible. The work FIMRC does sets itself apart from other organizations in its specific focus on women and children in the community, and by tailoring its interventions in a way that incorporates local input and feedback to create the most sustainable and relevant programs.

The Micro Health Insurance Program was a fantastic example of this, as it was a program designed for community members experiencing extreme poverty to gain money by adhering to small but massively important health behaviors, such as having ventilation for indoor stoves and having mosquito nets covering childrens' beds. With each thing the family had on a checklist, they were given money to further improve their home. I worked directly with a family who was using some of the money to build a toilet/washroom outside of the main living area.

Outside of the clinic, life took some major adjusting to but looking back, I really miss the simplicity and true value of the family unit that I had come to love. The local family that I lived with were an incredible group of resilient, loving, strong, female-dominated people and I still speak to them today. They welcomed me as one of their own and were incredibly accommodating while managing their own daily struggles. I came to know them all individually as well as a larger family unit when I helped my host mother throw a baby shower in our home for one of her coworkers! What a fantastic cultural experience. I will admit that knowing very little Spanish when I arrived was challenging and isolating because I am a person who builds bonds through conversation. Over time though, you pick up things faster than you think you will, and somehow I still felt like part of the family with these individuals who took me into their home.

I gained valuable experience working with FIMRC with my pediatric assessment skills as interns were responsible for running the clinic on days that the pediatrician was there. As a nursing student, this will definitely improve my resume as a new grad and gives me the advantage of being able to say I provided culturally sensitive care to a group of well deserving individuals.

Overall, I have to say FIMRC and Project Limon was a life changing adventure that shaped the person I've become since and will always influence the care I provide as a practitioner going forward. For anyone wondering if this program is right for you, particularly if you study social work or any of the health professions, I'd definitely say yes!

What would you improve about this program?
If there was one thing I'd have improved about the program, it's a request for more after-clinic group activities. Especially at the beginning of the trip when my Spanish was poor, it helped to have an activity to look forward to with the rest of the volunteers before heading home. I especially enjoyed the activities we organized that allowed us to experience the amazing geography that Nicaragua has to offer (i.e. beaches, cliffs, tide pools and oceans) and I just think I would have had more fun overalll if we'd done more of those things and had them included in our trip.
Read my full story
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Chloe
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Project Limon

It’s easy to get lost in choosing from the sea of global medical non-profit volunteer programs out there! But FIMRC has some fantastic qualities that distinguish this organization. I volunteered through the SIHF program in July of 2016 at FIMRC’s Project Limon in rural Nicaragua. I chose to volunteer with FIMRC because of its emphasis on sustainably improving health in some of the most underserved regions of the developing world through long-term, ground-up, and community-based efforts. I chose Nicaragua in particular for its community outreach and women's/pediatric healthcare-heavy focus. This month-long program (FIMRC also gives you a two-month option) seemed like the perfect amount of time to get immersed in the local culture, gain knowledge, and make some kind of impact in the community.

While traveling to a foreign country alone can be daunting, FIMRC makes sure to have your arrival and departure planned through and through (another reason why I was confident in choosing to volunteer with FIMRC). As a volunteer you get to stay with a local family. My host family was absolutely wonderful! They were kind and incredibly accommodating. Living with a host family is an invaluable experience that FIMRC offers its volunteers. Not only does it allow you to be immersed in the culture and customs, but it also helps minimize the distance between yourself and the community you’re volunteering in by building a direct relationship with a local family. I found that language was definitely a barrier for me more often than not, but if you put your mind to it with a willingness to try, basic communication can come easy.

The clinic was an inviting space for community members and their children. Because the clinic provides a continuity of care despite the transience of volunteers, it instills a sense of trust that is conducive to impactfully promoting health in the surrounding area. Each day of work at the clinic brought new learning opportunities and ways to apply my passion for health! This included shadowing the nurses on-site as well as the pediatrician, taking vitals, and trekking into the surrounding area to educate families and individuals one-on-one and monitor health under their various outreach programs.

Life definitely moves slowly in Nicaragua. That being said, make use of this extra time outside of working in the clinic! I found myself journaling and reading more than ever. Having this time also entices you to improve your Spanish speaking skills, hang with your fellow SIHFers, explore the surrounding area, and spend more time with your host family, from playing with the kids to helping around the home. Beach visits were frequent during my month there. Local surf beaches were conveniently located about a 15-20 minute bike ride away from the clinic. Speaking of which, we were all given our own bikes as means of transportation. I lived about a 10 minute ride down the road from the clinic. It was a great way to soak in local scenery and get to know the landscape. I never felt unsafe on the roads. Mototaxis were also a phone call away for a quick and reliable ride to where you needed to be.

If you found yourself having a difficult time, the FIMRC leaders were there to listen and support you. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means an easy endeavor. We all experienced our own individual struggles and frustrations at many points. But it’s a humbling yet valuable part of the journey and you walk away with many lessons learned. This experience is truly what you make of it!

Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A culturally integrative experience with community driven initiatives

Impact: 10/10
FIMRC heavily emphasizes the idea of community inspired solutions, taking a bottom-up approach in resolving issues that are voiced by local Nicaraguans. Instead of proposing a hypothetical project in a vacuum and forcing its implementation, there is a great deal of cross talk between FIMRC volunteers and local leaders about what needs to be prioritized. While volunteering at the FIMRC clinic and shadowing pre-natal home visits, you'll quick realize how these services are necessary to the well-being of many families. You're also given the opportunity to work on your own independent project that is expected to have real, measurable outcomes in a field of your choice. As part of my SIHF trip, I was able to work with Alvaro (the physical education director of several school systems) to improve the physical education curriculum by introducing new exercises, activities, and athletic standards that we use in the U.S.

FIMRC SIHF will give you many opportunities to make a sizable impact in the Limon community. It'll be up to you to take the initiative and take ownership of your own experience.

Support: 9/10

Before coming to Nicaragua, I had an extremely basic background in Spanish and had not visited Central America before. So when I realized that I would be exclusively speaking Spanish with my host family, the community members, and patients at the clinic, I definitely felt outside of my comfort zone. But what I quickly realized was how much love and support I received from my host family and neighbors, and their commitment towards helping me better understand their customs, language, and daily lives. The FIMRC leadership and senior volunteers were also extremely helpful in getting me adjusted and being available for any issues or concerns. You'll also be surprised how closely knit your SIHF group will be within the first week. Because almost everyone will be going through the same culture shock and language barrier, you will always have someone to talk to at every point of your experience.

At the end of the day, you're expected to put yourself out there and make mistakes in order to make the most of your experience. I'm glad that SIHF was not a hand-holding experience where every outcome was predetermined and expected. But when I felt overwhelmed, there was always someone I could turn to.

Fun: 9/10

For those of you who are on your phones and laptops 24/7, prepare to leave that part of your life behind! When you're not engaging in FIMRC related activities, you'll be spending the majority of your time with your host family. Things move A LOT slower when you're just talking about life, working on your Spanish, and just chilling on a plastic lawn chair as the sun sets. There were definitely days where I felt bored out of my mind, which probably speaks more to my own reliance on mental distractions. I soon learned to appreciate and truly enjoy the amount of personal time I spent with my host family, learning more about each other's experiences and what we aspire to do. I remember helping my younger sister with her English homework while she taught me her Backstreet Boys dance for school. My host brother and I instantly connected about professional wrestling, basketball, and video games. Of course there are opportunities to have the kind of fun that we're more used to having: zip-lining on the weekends, learning how to surf and paddle board, going to clubs and bars in the city. But what I appreciated the most was adopting a lifestyle focused on reflection and human connection, away from the distractions and anxieties we normally experience.

Value: 9/10

A large majority of your funds will be used to help run the Limon clinic, as well as monetarily supporting your host family (college expenses for their children, renovating an old room in their house, etc.). With that in mind, your trip expenses are a significant part of your impact even before you come to Nicaragua. FIMRC also makes it easy to fund-raise from your friends and family, and they work closely with interested volunteers. Personally, I think the program itself is already worth the cost. Even more so considering the program's direct contribution to the community.

Safety: 9/10

Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America in regards to political stability and general violence. Things to watch out for would be petty theft, undomesticated animals (wild dogs), and some instances of cat-calling. As long as you're protecting yourself (don't bring an expensive handbag to Nicaragua) and making safe decisions (traveling in groups at night, bringing a head-lamp when biking), then there's nothing to worry about.

Overall: 9.5/10

If you want a truly immersive experience that takes you outside of your comfort zone, and challenges you to jump on every opportunity, then this program is for you. You WILL make a real impact on the lives of others. You WILL experience the daily livelihoods of Nicaraguans around you, and become a part of their family. I can safely say that my FIMRC SIHF experience was a life-changing one.

Doris
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SIHF 2016

I went to Nicaragua for two months in the summer of 2016. Both of my parents were born in Central America so I was very aware of the day to day lifestyle, which I thought would come in handy since I was going to have a host family. My host family consisted of only a sweet and caring lady, who's only daughter had grown up, married and left to live her life. I was a little disappointed to find out that I wasn't going to have any host siblings. but by the end of the trip I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to bond so much with my host mom and that I actually got to experience and live the life I have heard so much about while growing up.
Working at the clinic itself was also a positive experience that both the staff and the big group of female peers contributed to. I was part of a group of about 16 females from different parts of the U.S. whom I was able to bond with on several occasions. Jessica and Zane are awesome and did an amazing job at making sure that we all had the chance to observe, go on visits and do different tasks they had. because there were many of us we didn't always have a lot of time to do the jobs that we liked to but Jessica and Zane were flexible and did the best they could. since it was the summer and we were there for a longer period of time we were able to start our own projects to help the community. I chose to work at Los Pipitos for both months and be able to help children who needed special attention with physical therapy and others with their numbers, letter, etc. I absolutely loved it! being able to go to Los Pipitos to see and help out the children was my favorite thing from the clinic. I also like observing the pediatrician and seeing how not only did she travel from another city to help, but she taught and explained to the parents why their child was sick and how to help it was different than how the doctors in the U.S. do it.
As for Nicaragua itself....it's beautiful. I enjoyed going out and visiting different parts of Nicaragua with friends during the weekends and biking it to the local beach almost everyday after work with friends. the beaches are really pretty, the sunsets are full of color but the best part is after the sunsets, and its dark, you look up to see the sky full of bright stars, something that the city lights block out at home. I would definitely do it again.

Emilie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

FIMRC Nicaragua

The Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is an INCREDIBLE organization that offers once in a lifetime experiences for those who take advantage. These trips are geared for those that are interested in public health, children, communities, and adventures. My trip to Nicaragua was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. I went with a group from Clemson (my alma mater) for a 1 week medical mission trip. The accommodations were very nice- we stayed at the Surf Sanctuary which is owned by an American family that decided to move to Nicaragua. There is a pool, an awesome cook from South Africa (I think he is still there), and it is super close to the beach. As far as location goes- this is an awesome place to be if you want a volunteer trip with some relaxation included.

For the volunteering part- we mainly worked in the FIMRC clinic and in the adjacent government clinic helping with vitals, organizing the pharmacy, painting the clinic, and interacting with children and their families. We also went on home visits with a community health worker that focused on pre-natal care and with another health worker that focused on diabetes. In addition, on the last day we worked in a physical therapy clinic with children that suffered from physical ailments. It was a very rewarding experience and I felt like we truly were making a difference. One of the best things about FIMRC is that the work they do is sustainable- they don't just send foreigners in to change things, they create jobs and opportunities for the communities to get involved which makes their work more meaningful.

I highly recommend this experience!!

What would you improve about this program?
I guess more interaction with the locals- the drawback of the nice accommodations is that you don't get that full immersion experience, which has it's pros and cons.
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Swapna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Salud de Nica!

I was lucky enough to travel to Nicaragua in July 2014 to work on a Practicum project for school I had been working on for a few months prior at FIMRC HQ. I worked on implementing a program that would benefit the community in learning about the most prominent prevalent diseases in the area. I do not speak much Spanish (something I recommend), but I was able to get by.

Clinic experience:

I had no expectations going down to Nica, but working in the clinics was such a incredible experience. I got to oversee and educate young woman on being pregnant, I played with kids and took their vitals in the clinic, I educated students at the local school on certain diseases, like UTIs.

One have my favorite days in clinic was when the most of the volunteers got split up to go to an American Singing Competition at a local high school and three of us decided to go to Los Pipitos Development Program. I decided to go to the program because I wanted to get experience working with kids in physical therapy; it was such a humbling experience working with the kids.

Host Family & Weekend Experience:

My experience was absolutely wonderful. I stayed with a host family, something else I highly recommend rather than staying at the lodge, and my siblings were so kind and fun. I chose to live with a big family to replicate my own family back in the States---- it definitely made my experience much more fun! Although I was their first guest staying in the house, It did not take long for the family to warm up to me. I quickly became good friends with my siblings and cousins-- we played baseball several times a week when I got home from the clinic. I had two weekends in Nicaragua, and was fortunate enough to travel to Ometepe Island (I did a 3-4 hour hike to the top a waterfall near the top of a volcano) and Granada (I took an island tour and a evening/sunset volcano tour).

I found out that some of the locals who moved from the States did yoga at Jiquelite Beach almost every other day at 7AM--- I took advantage of participating and then went straight to clinic after!

Overall Experience:

Overall, my experience was unforgettable. I still talk to my family a few times a month and the food was amazing (I still crave for rice and beans!). One thing I realized I needed on this trip was patience. Without patience, volunteers may not get the experience they want---- you must let go of everything negative in your life and come with a smile on your face to clinic. Enjoy and immerse yourself in every way possible in the culture!

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend volunteers to know a little bit of Spanish, or give them some material to look over small phrases/words to understand beginner level.

I wasn't fluent and I took Spanish years ago, so it slowly came back to me. But I was lucky enough to have volunteers around me to help me get by--- but I wish I knew a little more!
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Jon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Just As Good the Second Time Around!

I loved going to Nicaragua with FIMRC. I loved it so much that I chose to return for my second year in a row. Everything about the experience is incredible. My first trip to Nicaragua was my first time ever doing anything related to medical missions, and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed everything that we did from going into the community and educating the locals, to shadowing the pediatrician and taking the vitals of all the children in the clinic.

I chose to return to this site for a second time in order to see how things had progressed, and it was amazing to see how far things had come in just one year! In just the short time between my two trips, the average blood pressure of the people in the community dropped below 200 for the first time, which was a huge accomplishment that they had been working towards for a while. Also, they were able to add an OB/GYN part of the clinic, which is greatly needed for the community where there is so little knowledge about pregnancy and everything that goes along with it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone. Everything about it is fantastic. Both groups I went with loved the FIMRC workers, the local people, the food, and everything else, and I may just have to go back for a third time next year!

What would you improve about this program?
There are a few times when there is a little bit of down time during the day, and it would be good if we could find little things to do to fill that time. But other than that, this program is great!