The summer study abroad service learning courses have provided opportunities for undergraduate students interested in health careers to partner with local non-governmental organizations in health promotion and disease prevention efforts. The purpose of these service-learning trips is to assist Nicaragua NGO’s (nongovernmental organizations) with improving the health of disadvantaged or otherwise marginalized Nicaraguans while providing a transformative educational experience for students. As a result of these trips students report a deeper awareness of global health issues, a heightened sensitivity to cultural and socioeconomic differences, and an increased desire to continue working in developing countries.
During the last two summers students have volunteered with the following organizations:
Nica Hope (Managua)
The mission of Nica Hope is to "promote an integrated education to children and their families in vulnerable communities, developing their abilities and skills to improve their quality of life in a sustainable manner."
In 2009 students spent 3 days working with children from the dump community to improve their knowledge of basic hygiene (brushing teeth, washing hands), help them organize their jewelry store, and work toward the completion of repairing walls and sidewalks at one of the nearby schools. Wake Forest students also brought donations of shoes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and other needed supplies. The jewelry ministry continues to be a focal point of WF’s involvement with Nica Hope, as the Wake Forest school of business was responsible for helping Nica Hope launch the store and business model. Visit the Nica Hope website to learn more: http://nicahope.org/.
Amigos For Christ (Chinandega)
Amigos for Christ aims to "promote rural development in the areas of water and sanitation, health care, education and nutrition, small business, and community development."
Amigos is an ecumenical group that welcomes missions teams from different Christian traditions as well as non-religious based groups, like medical teams and University classes. Over the past two summers WF students have had the opportunity to prepare and conduct health education clinics for children, visit families in their homes to learn about cooking and other health-related practices, and work toward the completion of a community trash dump. The trip also affords students the chance to visit an orphanage for severely handicapped children, a government-run women and children’s hospital, and a medical clinic. Given that Chinandega is 2.5 hours from Managua, the trip also allows students to observe life in a less urban setting than Managua. Visit the Amigos For Christ website to learn more: http://www.amigosforchrist.org/.
AMOS Health and Hope
AMOS Health and Hope is an organization that seeks "to improve the health of impoverished communities by working alongside them in health, education and development."
Participation with AMOS allows students to witness first hand how community development can occur from a research-based model. The two directors of AMOS, Drs. Laura and David Parajon, identify and train health promoters in each of 12 rural districts to perform important functions related to educating communities about chlorinating water, washing hands, wearing shoes, cooking in open air, keeping animals out of the home, eating well, and other important functions. Typically outside groups come in to complete building projects that are identified as high needs by people in the communities who partner with the AMOS staff.
For the first time, WF students tested a new model with AMOS. Students partnered with the local health promoter in a rural community called Cumaica del Norte to set up health stations. At these stations students measured and weighed babies, tested for anemia, applied fluoride, tested vision, and assisted a dentist with dentistry. Two days of work concluded with a celebration with the entire village. It seemed that our presence helped to establish the credibility of the local health promoter and reiterated the importance of health promotion and disease prevention. To help prepare and educate students, AMOS conducted a pre-trip training and then a full day of post-trip processing. Learn more about AMOS Health & Hope