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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Keeping You Informed: Congress Agrees to Pass the IRA Charitable Rollover!

    by Katie Carroll | Dec 18, 2015

    As of December 15th, Congress has agreed to enact the IRA Charitable Rollover provision for the tax code. Further, the provision will be retroactive to January 1, 2015, and will now be a permanent provision.

    If you are age 70-1/2 or older, here are the expected details and benefits to you for tax year 2015:

    • You may give up to $100,000 from your IRAs directly to qualified charities such as Medical Teams International without having to pay income taxes on the funds.
    • The new law applies retroactively to charitable IRA distributions made previously in 2015, and any given through December 31.
    • IRA charitable rollovers will count toward your required minimum distribution (RMD).
    • IRA charitable rollovers will not be subject to the charitable giving limit of 50% of adjusted gross income.
    • If you don’t normally itemize deductions, this can give you an additional way to reduce tax.
    • Those who usually do itemize deductions may find additional tax benefits.

    Taking Action If you are age 70-1/2 or older, taking action and reaping the benefits is easy. Simply contact your IRA Custodian (usually the financial services company that manages your IRA) and let them know you wish to make a qualifying IRA Charitable Rollover gift. They will be able to handle the entire process for you.

    Once again: Make sure you discuss any IRA-related actions with your CPA, Financial or Professional Tax Advisor. Medical Teams International does not provide tax advice and encourages you to contact your professional tax advisor before acting.

  • Happy Holidays: Smiles from around the world!

    by Emily Crowe | Dec 17, 2015

    Your support does incredible things. You provide healing hands for women who would otherwise die during a complicated birth. You teach children the importance of sanitation and a safe home. You listen to refugee mothers struggling to keep hope after witnessing the horrors of war. You bring healing and safety to families around the world-- truly putting your faith into action.

    It is making a difference for so many people.

    A joyful heart is good medicine. -Proverbs 17:22

    This holiday season, we're honored to be putting your gifts into action in the field. Please take a moment and meet some of the incredible people from around the world who are impacted by your support:

    Girl_smiling_uganda
    A girl in southern Uganda shares a friendly smile. Your support provides medical care for thousands of refugees in Uganda, bringing health and healing to so many.

    Alaa_lebanon_syrian_refugee
    Alaa, a young Syrian refugee, shares her heartwarming smile. You've helped her family survive in the ever-more-desperate situation at their refugee settlement in Lebanon.

    Myanmar_woman
    A woman with traditional face paint in Myanmar. Not only did you help this nation recover after a year of deadly monsoons and flooding, but you're strengthening the nation's community health after years of closure.

    Guatemala_girl
    A young Guatemalan girl shares a shy smile with volunteers and staff during a community health trip to rural Guatemala.

    Girl_outside_tent_Lebanon
    Despite increasingly desperate situations in the refugee settlements, this young Syrian refugee shares an adorable smile.

    Haiti_smiles_mother_child
    A mother and child share a sweet moment in Haiti, where you provide vital care to keep families safe and healthy.

    elderly_woman_uganda
    An elderly woman shares a joyful smile in Uganda.

    elderly_woman_uganda
    Volunteers are a the core of everything we are able to do-- here, volunteers help build latrines in a rural community in Guatemala.

    elderly_woman_uganda
    Hawa smiles at her beautiful, newborn twins in Liberia. You provided a birthing bed that kept her from having to suffer awful pain-- and risk dangerous infection-- from giving birth on the floor. Read her story.



  • Widowed, heartbroken and homeless: A Syrian Widow

    by User Not Found | Dec 07, 2015

    Amina’s husband was determined to make a better life for his family. Several years ago, he made the difficult decision to leave behind his pregnant wife and travel from Syria to Greece in search of a safe, reliable way to make enough money to keep his family alive. Amina and her six children anxiously waited to hear from their beloved husband and father. He was not there for the birth of their seventh child. He was not there when the bombing started near their home. Finally, they learned the truth: he never made it to Greece. His boat sank during the treacherous journey across the Aegean Sea…she could never hear from him again.

    amina and family
    Meet Amina and her children. Their faces reveal the pain they carry from the war and loss of their father (and husband)-- but the burden they carry is lightened thanks to your support.

    Left alone to provide for six children and a newborn, Amina felt powerless and depressed. The violence of the war was escalating. Bombing and fighting surrounded her home. Her children could not even play outside with their friends. The stress and anxiety became too much for Amina to bear. The stress was so bad that she developed hypertension. Something had to change.

    Staying in Syria was not an option. Amina feared for the safety of herself and her family. Her heart broke over the thought of leaving her homeland behind, but the lives of her children were at stake.

    Amina’s brother connected her and her children with a bus driver who made frequent trips to Lebanon. The widowed mother of seven left behind her home, friends, belongings, culture, and country. Next stop, Camp 13: Lebanon.

    The people living in Camp 13 helped Amina build a tent for her family. She benefited from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees food voucher program. Despite canvas above their heads and food in their bellies, Amina’s family was suffering. They missed Syria. They missed their father. They missed the safety, comfort, and familiarity of their old lives.

    Amina’s sixteen-year-old son left for Jordan before the rest of the family departed for Lebanon. She does not know where he is now. Four of her children are not in school. They cannot read and do not know their numbers. There is a school nearby, but the $10 monthly fee per child is a financial impossibility for Amina. Her son, Yousif, began suffering from painful toothaches. Amina’s hypertension gave her incessant dizziness and head pain.

    Amidst the hopelessness and uncertainty of the refugee camp, Medical Teams International is there. Your warmhearted donations allow us to provide dental and medical care for Amina and her family. Yousif received a filling in his damaged tooth, and the entire family attended a two-hour dental awareness clinic at the camp. During these programs, Medical Teams International staff use games to teach children good eating habits and how to brush their teeth. Amina receives medication for her high blood pressure and monthly monitoring on her health. When she feels healthy, Amina can better provide and care for her children. She feels empowered despite her otherwise hopeless situation: “God bless Medical Teams International. I am thankful for the care they are providing.”

  • Pregnant at 12, you empowered Dolores to change her community

    by User Not Found | Dec 01, 2015

    Dolores was twelve years old when she first became pregnant. Her childhood in a small Guatemalan village suddenly came to an end. Not even a teenager-- she was now a mother. The father of her baby refused to marry her. They had another child together before Dolores reached her fourteenth birthday, and he abandoned the young mother of two for a woman soon after.

    Today, Dolores is twenty-four-years-old. She is unmarried with four children. Her children’s father still lives with the other woman, visiting only occasionally to bring some corn for his neglected second family. His absence and lack of support means that Dolores must work tirelessly to make ends meet.

    dolores childMeet Dolores (right), and one of her daughters. Your support empowered her to help her community and family, and gave her what she always wanted-- an education.

    To support her children, Dolores raises chickens, turkeys, and pigs. She harvests taro root to cook and sell at the market. Dolores loves her children dearly. She dreams that they will have happy and healthy lives. Her deepest desire is that they will receive an education – a precious opportunity that she herself never had.

    Dolores first learned about Medical Teams International when a team arrived in her community of Seritquiche, Guatemala (a program that's since moved to Senahu, Guatemala, another nearby village), to build 50 latrines. In Guatemala, waterborne diseases such as diarrhea are very real threats to the health and safety of many rural families. Dolores felt so happy to receive a latrine and knows that she will have “healthier children because they can have a clean safe place to go to the bathroom.”

    Medical Teams International immediately recognized Delores’ passion for her children and for her community. Although she has never attended school, the community respects her and considers her a leader. These qualities made her the perfect candidate for one of Medical Teams International’s mother counselors.

    Mother counselors receive health and hygiene training from local Medical Teams International staff. They are responsible for 10 families in their communities. They visit homes to monitor child health and teach other mothers important hygiene practices such as washing hands. At first, Dolores felt unsure about becoming a mother counselor. What an important job! Could she succeed even without a formal education?

    The community and Medical Teams International staff encouraged Dolores. She agreed to begin training to become a mother counselor and was so excited to receive an education that would improve the lives of her children and community! She feels so happy when she sees how Medical Teams International empowered her to make a difference. Dolores is confident: “People will see our lives are improving and others will want to follow.”

    There are so many capable, enthusiastic mothers like Dolores in Guatemala and all over the world! You have the incredible opportunity to provide them education and support, allowing them to create healthier families and communities.


  • When despair becomes deadly for a heartbroken Syrian mother

    by User Not Found | Nov 26, 2015

    Khadija felt her world was collapsing. Living in a Lebanese refugee camp, she was disconnected from her family, home, and culture in Syria. Overwhelmed by sadness and despair, she stopped taking her medicine. Without this treatment, she could die.

    When Khadija arrived in Camp 43 with her son a few months ago, she was not healthy. Her son knew that his mother needed a doctor. He feared for her life. Medical care and supplies are limited compared to the thousands of Syrian refugees who face sickness, hunger, and unrest daily. Fortunately, Khadija connected with Medical Teams International soon after coming to the camp. Our doctors discovered that she had severe diabetes. They closely monitored her disease and gave her the lifesaving medicine she needed. Khadija’s health began to improve.

    Syria_badra
    Meet Badra, another Syrian refugee who battled extreme heartbreak to survive. Thanks to your help, she is finally healing, too.

    After a few months, the doctors noticed that Khadija stopped coming to her regular appointments. Days turned into weeks, and Medical Teams International’s staff heard nothing from Khadija. Where was she? How would she get her medicine? Was she still alive?

    One day, the doctors received a call from Khadija’s desperate son: “My mother has no energy at all!” Doctors learned that the two refugees had lost contact with the rest of their family who lived in Aleppo, an area of Syria overwhelmed with violence. Khadija became anxious and depressed…she had not taken her medicine for two months. Her son was so scared. He loved his mother deeply and did not want to lose her. Finally, Khadija agreed to return to the medical clinic to speak with Medical Teams International’s doctors.   

    The doctors listened to Khadija explain how much she missed her family. She was afraid for their safety. She did not know what to do. Medical Teams International’s staff didn’t just give Khadija medical advice—they listened. They reminded her that without her medication, she would die and leave behind her son. It took some time, but Khadija eventually decided that she must continue her medical treatment. She wanted to stay healthy to take care of her son.

    Khadija finally agreed to receive a check-up from Dr. Ahmad, a Medical Teams International-affiliated doctor. He provided her with medications that would save her life. This time, Khadija took her medicine.