LEARN ABOUT OUR HISTORY
Volunteers for International Medical Aid (VIMA), was founded in 2009 by Francis Kwame Agbemafle, as a non-governmental, non-for-profit organization (NGO) and fully registered in the state of California, USA, for local and international health assistance. The International focus of VIMA is to serve Ghana, Republic of Togo, Burkina Faso and other countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. It all started as a one man mission (the founder) to give back to the community in which he grew up, in Ghana, West Africa. As a US resident, former friends and colleagues will transfer money to him to purchase and ship cars to them in West Africa, So Francis came up with a simple idea, instead of shipping empty vehicles he purchased for friends in West Africa, he thought it will be more beneficial to utilize the cargo space by buying used clothes from flea markets and thrift stores as well as basic medical supplies such as used stethoscopes, diabetic glucometers , lancets, portable blood pressure machines, and thermometers etc and
donate the items to clinics, local mid-wives centers and orphanages in remote areas through family and friends.
This noble initial idea, financed solely by the founder was so successful that there were clinics that depended on his continued supply of such items for their upkeep and running. This donation drive 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 did not cost much” This went on for about two years successfully and after sharing stories of his small donations with friends 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 for a few years, VIMA sent its first medical Volunteer to Ghana on the 24th of march, 2011 on a two weeks assignment, the organization since then has welcomed to the shores of Ghana three more volunteers in various capacities. VIMA is still a small organization undertaking small projects in rural communities but of significant social impacts. VIMA believes 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 recipient due to the bureaucracy in the system coupled with greed by the privileged few at the top, a situation the founder of VIMA has experienced at first hand.
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. We prefer to remain a small organization that will reach out to our clients rather than growing too fast for our intended purpose.
VIMA’s approach is very simple, and our target group is the most vulnerable in society; the orphans, girls, abused women, especially single mothers, and children with congenital diseases including HIV infected kids. We therefore try to improve living conditions for these group of people through voluntary work with participatory approach, thereby increasing knowledge on health issues, improve nutritional and health status, enhance leadership and self-help capacities of the poor.
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 health of a child, a mother, an orphan in any of our locations. Most of our volunteers return to their countries of origin with very humble experiences and some cases, realized they themselves were the beneficiaries in some way of their kindness. Volunteering makes you discover yourself in ways you have not thought about, bringing you a sense of purpose, and you do so as you make life-time international friends, discover new approaches to old tricks (e.g. making fire in the jungle using stones and the principle of friction and heat), Enhancing 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 shall not depart from the basic principles and guidelines of the founder; the implementing of small projects with big socio-economic impacts.