February 19, 2018: Exton Chamber of Commerce Member, iHi International, recently wrapped up a ten-day empowerment trip to Uganda in January, where volunteers supported hundreds of children and adults. During the trip, Dr. of Physical Therapy Heather Hirst, Licensed Nurse Practitioner Cyndie Burke, and human resource / business development experts, Steven Colestock and Jessica Stelma, traveled to the east African country of Uganda alongside iHi President and CEO Chris Tabakin. The team worked around the clock to empower Vulnerable International People, or VIPs, through a series of medical and therapy clinics, business and entrepreneurship training, and support materials distributions.
iHi stands for In His Image. The Exton based non-profit was founded in 2014 out of the belief that all people of any race, creed, culture, national origin or beliefs, regardless of ability or disability, are created in the image of our Creator and deserve opportunities. It’s those opportunities that iHi volunteers helped create for VIPs in Uganda. And their success is thanks in large part to the generosity and support of residents and businesses in the Exton and Greater Philadelphia communities.
Months before the empowerment trip, iHi advisory board members and volunteers coordinated a series of fundraising efforts to support the volunteers’ work. From an event held in Old City, Philadelphia to a donation drive on social media, as well as iHi’s “12 Days of Christmas”, during which donors purchased items from an Amazon Wish List, volunteers gathered needed supplies to make the greatest impact possible during this trip.
Throughout their travels, the volunteers held free medical and therapy focused clinics, in which they evaluated and treated sometimes close to one hundred children and adults in a single day. The volunteers provided nutritional supplements to malnourished children, supplied canes, crutches and other mobility supports to children and adults with mobility challenges, taught patients exercises to strengthen injured or weak muscles and joints, among other life-changing supports many of us have easy access to here in the U.S.
The administrative and human resource expert on the trip led trainings to help impoverished but eager to work men and women learn new ways and skills to support their families and community through entrepreneurship training. The team also visited already established programs, orphanages, and schools to offer advice and tools to help them continue to advance their skills, accountability and growth. Each member of the iHi team focused their efforts on building sustainable skills to ensure long-term growth and success in the region in collaborative partnership with the local Ugandan nongovernmental organization, Kyosiga Community Christian Association for Development (KACCAD). iHi International also partnered again with Connecticut based nonprofit, Let There Be Light International, to provide solar lights to the VIPs who were identified during the clinics in some of the most remote areas of Uganda. Through coordinated collaborative partnerships, the impact is maximized, and is why the tagline for iHi is “bringing the world together to support VIPs.”
iHi International is a proud member of the Exton Chamber of Commerce, which works to bring together a community of business leaders dedicated to making a difference in their community and beyond. The organization is grateful for the ongoing support of business in and surrounding Exton. We are also so proud to have Chamber President Laurie Kerkering as a new advisory board member for iHi International.
To learn more about iHi International, and to see photos from this recent trip and others, visit us on social media @iHiInternational and at www.ihiinternational.org .