Volunteers for International Medical Aid (VIMA), was founded in 2009 by Francis Kwame Agbemafle, as a charity Organization. VIMA is a 501 C3 registered organization; it’s also registered in the state of California for local and international humanitarian assistance. The International focus of VIMA is to serve Ghana and its neighboring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It all started as a one man mission to give back to the impoverish community in which he grew up in rural Volta Ghana, West Africa. Fortunate enough to be a US resident, Francis had always wanted to assist people in his impoverish part of Ghana through donations but was initially discouraged by the high cost of shipping such items to Ghana, and was therefore surprised to see a friend shipping empty cars to his home country with empty cargo space. He therefore offered his labor free and in return be allowed to fill the empty cargo space in these vehicles with humanitarian supplies. Soon, Francis was buying used clothes from flea markets and thrift stores as well as basic medical supplies such as used stethoscopes, diabetic tools, glucose meters, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers etc and donating these items to clinics, local mid-wives centers and orphanages in remote areas that are out of sight from large scale charities.
This noble idea, initially financed solely by the founder was so successful that there were clinics and local caregivers that depended on VIMAs continued supply of such items for their upkeep and safe cost. His donation is known and well documented to have save lives and promote better living standards in the villages that were served.
He did this because in his own words, “it is within my means”. This went on for about two years successfully, and after sharing his vision with friends, neighbors and church colleagues in the USA, others expressed interest in either assisting or donating used items to promote his efforts. Following successful small scale item donations, VIMA sent its first medical Volunteer to Ghana in March of 2011 on a two weeks assignment, the organization since then has welcomed to the shores of Ghana more than 100 volunteers in various capacities. VIMA is doing amazing things, undertaking small projects in rural communities but of significant social impacts. We strongly believe that it doesn’t take much to make a difference in the lives of the poor; most of the aid intended for the poor does not reach the intended recipients due to the bureaucracy in the system coupled with greed by the privileged few at the top, a situation the founder of VIMA laments about and will like to change.
"when I see a child or an orphan in the hinterland starving, has no means to pay school fees, or no pair of shoes and clothes to wear, it reminds me of my own childhood, therefore I do not see a hopeless situation, but rather an opportunity for me to step-in and help,
Volunteers for International Medical Aid; VIMA has one important basic policy, we makes sure there’s direct one-on-one delivery of donations to their intended recipients, absolutely no middle men. This is a core and fundamental policy of the organization.
VIMA’s approach is very simple, and our target group is the most vulnerable in society; the orphans, girls, abused women, especially single mothers, including HIV infected kids. We therefore try to improve living conditions for these groups of people through voluntary work with participatory approach, thereby increasing knowledge on health issues, improving nutritional and health status of children and also enhancing leadership and self-help capacities of the poor in their own communities.
Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that the good lord will touch your heart in order to make a difference in the life of a child, a mother, an orphan in any of our communities that we serve. Most of our volunteers return to their countries of origin with very humble experiences and in some cases, realized they themselves were blessed. Volunteering makes you discover yourself in ways you may not have thought about, bringing you a sense of purpose, you make life-time international friends, discover new approaches to old tricks. It also enhances your self-esteem, and above all make a difference in the lives of others in ways you never thought you could.
As VIMA grows, we intend to stay focused on our basic principles and guidelines ; we will continue to make our presence known in deprive and isolated areas of rural Africa (SSA), far away from the glamour and exuberance lifestyles of the big cities. Come volunteer with a grass-root organization and have an experience of a lifetime.
"when I see a starving child or an orphan in the hinterland , with no means to pay school fees, or no pair of shoes and clothes to wear, it reminds me of my own childhood, therefore I do not see a hopeless situation, but rather an opportunity for me to step-in and help,"-Francis Agbemafle- Founder of VIMA