Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

Sign up to receive the blog directly to your email inbox

  • Syrian Refugee Success Story: No More Mouth Pain

    by Tyler Graf | Apr 03, 2015

    We recently received a story about three Syrian refugee children who obtained much-needed dental care thanks to your support and kind donations.

    Eleven-year-old Aya, 7-year-old Alla and 10-year-old Abdullah have been refugees in Lebanon for the past three years. Their previous lives in Syria are all but distant memories. Just a week after they left their house during the early days of the conflict in Syria, it was bombed to the ground.

    Lebanon, kid 2 (Aya, who received a filling), March 2015
    Aya, 11, received a filling.

    Lebanon, kid 4 (Alla, with toothbrush), March 2015
    Alla, 7, received a filling.

    Lebanon, kid 3 (Abdullah, who had tooth extracted), March 2015
    Abdullah, 10, had a tooth pulled.

    None of the kids has gone to school in years. None has received dental care, or oral hygiene education, either. The siblings have a sister who is severely disabled, and the family has spent all of its financial resources caring for her. There’s only so much to go around. The family hopes to resettle soon, but that effort will take time.

    Your donations are making a difference. You can see it on the smiles spread across the kids’ faces.

    At a dental clinic at one of the settlements, the three siblings got the care they needed. Aya and Alla received fillings, while Abdullah had a tooth pulled. In addition to the dental care, they received tooth brushes and toothpaste from Medical Teams International. The children are using them “three times a day!” they exclaimed.

    Before seeing the dentist, Aya said she was not able to eat. Abdullah said it was extremely painful to eat, especially when he ate sweets. With a big, sly smile, Abdullah admitted to liking cookies, ice cream and chocolate.

    Now he knows these are occasional foods – not meal replacements. And he should always drink a lot of water and brush his teeth. After seeing a dentist, the kids said they no longer have pain in their mouths. They’ve even become health advocates in their own right, telling their friends how important it is to brush their teeth.

    These wonderful smiles are the results of your willingness to come along side and help the world’s most vulnerable populations. Thank you so much! The lives of thousands of Syrian refugees are improved because of your donations.

  • South Sudan Refugee Story: Sandra Stays Behind

    by Tyler Graf | Apr 01, 2015

    Uganda, South Sudan refugee, March 2015
    Recently married, Sandra and her husband fled the civil conflict in South Sudan when it became too heated.

    Sandra is a recently married woman displaced by the civil conflict in South Sudan.

    Originally from Uganda, Sandra crossed the border into South Sudan to marry her husband, who is from that country. They planned to live there. But when war broke out last year, she and her husband were forced to flee. They ended up at a refugee settlement in Uganda, where the couple has been living for a couple of months.

    In Uganda, prospects for Sandra’s husband are very poor. He regularly crosses the border back into South Sudan, where he can make a small living as a brick maker. Sandra stays behind at the refugee camp, where she has access to medical care as the result of your generous donations. Your gifts are helping women like Sandra stay safe and healthy.

    Your donations are going toward the construction of a medical clinic near Sandra’s settlement. This will be a major boost to women like Sandra, who don’t plan to return to South Sudan because the country is too unstable. This clinic will be within walking distance for everyone at the camp and serve a growing population of refugees who have a variety of chronic and immediate health needs.

    Despite being worried about her husband’s safety, Sandra is grateful that she is safe and has access to medical care while she waits, and prays, for his safe return. Thank you for your gifts to the refugees of South Sudan.

    You are improving lives!

  • Mobile Dental: Lisa's Success Story

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 27, 2015

    Mobile Dental, Lisa Ahne, March 2015

    Lisa and volunteer dentist Dr. Bruce on MTI's mobile dental bus.

    Lisa is a hand-craft artisan who lives in Alsea, Ore., a rural part of the state surrounded by forest. She uses the bounty of the woods to make her crafts. Because of this seclusion, Lisa doesn't have access to primary dental care.

    But thanks to your generous gifts, a Medical Teams International mobile dental van provides services to the rural community of Alsea. Dr. Bruce, as he’s known, is the man in the van. The volunteer dentist has been serving Alsea for four years. He's a face Lisa can trust, because when she sees it, she knows she'll receive amazing care.

    Lisa has received a variety of dental services from mobile dental and is humbled by the generosity. MTI’s Mobile Dental Program provides access to free or reduced-price dental care to people who cannot afford it or don’t have access to it.  

    “To all of you responsible for the dental van’s services in Alsea … the dental van (makes) my life easier, gives me greater peace of mind and increases my joy of living,” Lisa told MTI. “I especially appreciate that you come out to Alsea because I do not have a motor vehicle. Thank you many times over. That you care about providing the services warms my heart.”

    Lisa is so thankful that she repays MTI’s volunteers by giving them her crafts made of grass, bark and other natural items. She said she feels blessed to know so many people care about others living in rural communities.

    Thanks to you, Lisa feels joy in her life. You can donate to MTI’s Mobile Dental Program today.

  • Success Story: Moldova

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 26, 2015

     Children of Moldova

    Self-reliance is a powerful tool. It’s one way of ensuring that people have the power to thrive and grow in the years to come. At Medical Teams International, we strongly believe in self-reliance. It’s a guiding principle in what we do. As the adage goes, it’s better to give a hand up than a handout. 

    In countries around the world, MTI works toward the goal of fostering sustainable practices. Within communities affected by conflict, poverty and disaster, MTI strives to build capacity and knowledge. And that lofty goal — fostering sustainability — is only made possible through your generous donations, in addition to the tireless efforts of the communities we serve.

    Recently, MTI had the privilege of “graduating” a successful program in Moldova. MTI has officially ended its efforts in that country and has re-launched its support to a local nonprofit called Coram Deo, which was there even before MTI. With Coram Deo at the helm, the program remains in capable hands.

    Success in Moldova was the result of years of hard work.

    MTI began working in Moldova in 1996, partnering alongside local churches to serve some of the most vulnerable populations. Coram Deo — or “in the presence of God” in Latin — was MTI’s partner from the outset. In Moldova, MTI found a niche sending much-needed humanitarian aid valued at more than $10 million.

    Since 1996, MTI has deployed 63 medical, dental and community impact teams to Moldova. Our 245 volunteers rebuilt rundown hospitals, provided medical and dental services and trained Moldovan medical professionals. MTI also completed a successful three-year EMS “Train the Trainers” program throughout the country.

    We also created, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, a nation-wide emergency medical service curriculum that is now part of Moldova’s official mandate for all EMS providers. It’s still used today. MTI also established the first Community Health Evangelism program in villages outside of Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, which provided education and care to those in desperate situations.

    A lot has been accomplished over the years, and it was made possible because of your support and blessings. As MTI moves in different directions around the world, the people of Moldova will always hold a special place in our hearts. They are truly in the presence of God.

  • Lebanon Success Story: Tackling Chronic Conditions in Refugee Camps

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 24, 2015

    Lebanon, Ibrahim who has hypertension, March 2015
    Syrian refugee Ibrahim and two of his sons.

    For the past five years, Ibrahim has been closely monitoring his health. The Syrian refugee now living in a tented settlement in Lebanon suffers from hypertension. He requires medication to keep his blood pressure in check.

    But he’s learning – eating right is essential, too.

    In his previous life in Syria, before the war displaced him and his family, Ibrahim was a driver. He eventually had to quit his job to look after his health, and that’s when things began to change for the worse. That’s when the swirling specter of war descended. He, his wife and their 10 children lived in the suburbs of Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world. Now it’s little more than dust and rubble, leveled under an unrelenting onslaught of barrel bombs and ISIS-led attacks.

    Ibrahim and most of his family were fortunate to escape Syria, and for the past 18 months they’ve been living in the settlement. Ibrahim's eldest son, a 20-year-old, is currently being detained by the Syrian government. Attempts to win his release using what little money the family has have been fruitless.

    The situation is enough to send anyone’s blood pressure skyrocketing.  

    But there’s hope. For the past five months, Medical Teams International has been providing medical care to Ibrahim, a result of your generous donations. At dozens of Lebanon’s “informal tented settlements,” the majority of refugees come from formerly stable backgrounds, like Ibrahim’s. The most pressing health needs in the settlements are related to chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and oral decay.

    Many of the refugees are like Ibrahim. Though he comes from a middle class background, he’s not allowed to work in Lebanon. Two of his girls lend a hand in a nearby field, where they're paid $3.50 a day. Still, Ibrahim cannot move freely through Lebanon without first renewing his papers every six months, at a cost of $200.  

    Despite the hardships, Ibrahim’s health is improving, thanks to your support. He’s learned to decrease his intake of salt and sugar and tries to avoid coffee and fats. Ibrahim acknowledges that taking medicine without a change in diet will not ultimately help his health.

    Ibrahim says he believes his health has vastly improved. He can walk five kilometers without a problem. Before he received care, including dietary counseling and medications, he had chest pain and no energy.

    Reflecting on the care he’s received from MTI, thanks to you, he said the staff members “are so accommodating. When I deal with them, I feel comfortable. They really take care of us.”

    Thank you so much for opening your hearts to the plight of the Syrian people who are fleeing their country in record numbers. More information about MTI’s work in Lebanon can be found here. And please consider giving to the cause.