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Making a Difference in Peru

By Michelle Collin
Making a Difference in Peru

Students from the American School of Barcelona participating in a medical mission project in Peru. (Photo Source: American School of Barcelona)

The American School of Barcelona (ASB) partners annually with Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) in the United States. The partnership continues to grow and allows ASB students to participate in a medical mission project to Peru, acting as translators to American doctors.

This summer, Marta Vernet, International Baccalaureate (IB) creativity, activity, service coordinator (CAS), and Daniel Whitehair, IB chemistry teacher, accompanied ASB's delegation of 17 high school students to join the school's fifth Medical Mission to Peru. Students were able to help set up free healthcare clinics in Iquitos, Peru, where more than 1,300 patients from impoverished local communities, who typically have minimal access to medical care, received essential healthcare services and education from U.S. trained doctors, with ASB students and teachers offering more than 50 hours of translation services.

"The Peru medical mission is an incredible opportunity for ASB students to come face to face with the beautiful culture of Peru and Peruvian citizens. We witnessed firsthand the incredible injustice of the Peruvian medical system and the small amount of support the Michigan University doctors were able to provide to the local community. Seeing the gratitude that many patients shared despite their disheartening conditions was so impactful. I would recommend this medical mission to any individual," shared senior student, Mila Lacombe.

"ASB's multilingualism is a valuable asset that helps to make a real difference in these communities. Over the past years, many doctors have thanked ASB for involving their students and shared that having interpreters who speak both languages fluently has had a significant impact," shared MSUCOM.

The contingency also hosted an event where local doctors benefited from seeing a knee replacement surgery firsthand via an oculus in the metaverse in partnership with the non-governmental organization (NGO) Win-Win Connection and innovative tech company 8-chili. Later, they concluded their mission with a workshop for the girls of Iquitos in collaboration with Days for Girls, an NGO that trains and educates sexual education for girls who do not have the financial means to go to school.

"The Peru trip was one of my most treasured life experiences. I explored an amazing part of the world, got to know local people and customs, and met many amazing doctors and medical students from Michigan. It was incredibly gratifying to help even a little bit; however, the poor local medical system was saddening to witness," shared senior student, Jana Reynolds Benaiges.

Michelle Collin is the director of Development and Alumni Relations at the American School of Barcelona. 

LinkedIn: The American School of Barcelona
Instagram: asbamericanschool
Facebook: The American School of Barcelona
Twitter: @ASBschool

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