About Us

Site Outreach Coordinators

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Ylli Vajvoda, Site Coordinator

Albania

Përshëndetje! My name is Ylli Vajvoda and I am the VAW Site Coordinator in Albania. I am from the beautiful ancient Albanian town of Berat, where VAW’s Outreach site is located. I studied History at Tirana State University and I currently work in administration for the county of Berat.

In my free time, I enjoy playing fantasy role play games, learning about ancient cultures, watching soccer and spending time with my family. I am very excited to welcome Volunteers Around the World to Albania and show all of the volunteers everything Albania has to offer!

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Mario Karaj, Site Coordinator

Albania

Hi. My name is Mario Karaj.  I am an Albanian and American citizen. I will work with VAW as a Site Coordinator and also helping the Medical Coordinator.

This is the first time VAW is coming to Albania and I am excited for this new experience for you and for us. We are all willing to make this experience exceptional for all the students who are stepping into the beginning of their medical career.

I have studied economics in a very good college in New York City and I know how important the international experience is for an American student.

Currently I am the General Manager of the American Hospital in Tirana, Albania and I will be happy to invite you in the hospital facilities as my guests. You will be excited to see the many things a big hospital has to offer.

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Dra. Anisa Kondakciu, Medical Coordinator

Albania

My name is Anisa Kondakciu and I am 28 years old. I graduated from the University of Tirana in Medicine in 2012. Soon after, I continued my university studies for another 2 years in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pisa in Italy, where I graduated with honors from my program.

In Italy, I worked in the Gastroenterology department, in the field of research for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. For the past two years, I have been working in Albania as a family doctor. Soon, I will begin a specialization in Germany.

This year I had a wonderful experience with students from the United States in Volunteers Around the World Albania Team. Helping others is the best thing that one can do in life, and I am so lucky that I am do it!

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.”

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Keegan Springett, Site Coordinator

Cambodia

I am originally from Canada and I have always enjoyed traveling. It was not a plan to move to Cambodia but following an international work contract that ended I took my final flight to this country instead of returning “home”. I found the Khmer culture and history interesting and started learning the language almost immediately. It has an alluring quality to the country that I like.

During my time here I had time to help in a few capacities with a couple of NGO’s in different areas of the country. I spent volunteering time in rural areas around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

I have seen lots of the tourist sites and enjoyed time in the countryside. Getting to see the places most outsiders don’t; I have a decent overall view of this country and its people. During my time here I decided to settle in the city of Siem Reap “the beach town without a beach”. It has a unique energy and vibe that appeal not only to me but to many others as well.

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Dra. Touch Siden, Medical Coordinator

Cambodia

Hello! My name is Touch Siden and I was born in 1986, Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. I moved to Phnom Penh City in 2004 to study at the University of Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine. I finished my studies in 2014; after that I started to work as a Medical Assistant at the International Care Clinic in Phnom Penh. Since then, I have worked as a Physician with an NGO from France (Mission Humanitaire au Cambodge and Association Missions Stagaires). We work in the mobile clinics in the countryside.

I decided to work with Volunteers Around the World because I love Siem Reap, which is the most beautiful place in Cambodia. Working with VAW, I hope to teach the new generations from the USA, Canada and Australia about medicine–through study and practice–in Cambodia. Even more than this, I have always had a passion for giving back to underserved populations. I really like to develop and administer medical and social assistance programs that have a real impact for low income and risk families. Finally, I really love Humanity Mission.

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Carol Gallego Roberts, Site Coordinator

Dominican Republic

My name is Carol Gallego and I work with VAW as the Site Coordinator in the Dominican Republic as well as a Team Development Coordinator during the year. I founded the VAW Hospital Internship Program in Santo Domingo and helped develop the VAW Dental Outreach Program.

In addition to working with VAW, I currently attend Dental School in La Vega. I am originally from Colombia, but I have lived in the Dominican Republic for the past 14 years.

Among the things that I most enjoy about working with VAW are seeing the happy faces and hugs exchanged between the students and local patients, as well as seeing the looks of appreciation in the eyes of the locals who are receiving much needed primary medical care. Seeing all of these things come together and the mission of VAW carried out is part of what makes me extremely content at the end of each day of working with VAW, the university students, and local people.

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José Adolfo Jiménez Caraballo, Assistant Site Coordinator

Dominican Republic

Hello! My name is Adolfo. I am from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 2016, I joined the VAW DR team as an Assistant Site Coordinator to work with the VAW teams who travel abroad because I very much enjoy doing community service work.

From 1996-1998, I participated in community service projects in Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. For the past 12 years, I have been working as an architect on various private sector projects. I have a Master’s degree in teaching and administrative management. Since 2015, I have been a lecturer at in the Architecture Department at the Universidad O&M.

I am very excited to work with the volunteers in the Dominican Republic and teach them about Dominican culture!

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Dra. Gisselle Jimenez, Medical Coordinator

Dominican Republic

I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. I graduated from Medical School at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) a few years ago and have been practicing general medicine since then.

I enjoy working with Volunteers Around the World because it gives me the opportunity to get in touch with people in need and help change a life. I love being a doctor, and Volunteers Around the World gives me the opportunity to  share my knowledge with every volunteer I meet in Jarabacoa, a small community in the north of the country.

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Dr. Jose Espinal, Dental Coordinator

Dominican Republic

My name is Jose Espinal. I was born in Jarabacoa, La Vega province, Dominican Republic. I completed my university studies at the Catholic University of Cibao (UCATECI), where I graduated as a dentist. Since then, I have a dental practice in Jarabacoa, which where I learned about Volunteers Around the World. I have now been working with VAW for a year!

Karl Holzwarth, Site Coordinator

Guatemala

A few years ago you would have found Karl in an airport somewhere bouncing from place to place around the globe and living the life of a New York City based executive in the fashion industry. Now, he and his wife own a pub in a small town of 13,000 people on the shores of Lake Atitlan in rural Guatemala.

Having visited upwards of 70 countries both for pleasure and for work Karl has lived from one extreme to the next and is now literally “living the dream” (in his mind at least). Guatemala has given him the opportunity to enjoy his days at a much more relaxed pace in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Karl first crossed paths with VAW in 2011 and was immediately enthralled with the work they did in the local communities in his new adopted home. It didn’t take long for him to get involved and before anyone knew what had happened he was an official VAW team member. He’s worked with VAW in both the Dominican Republic and in Guatemala and although he has no professional medical training he enjoys the opportunity that VAW affords him to work with local Guatemalan doctors as well as the Volunteers from the states.

The VAW projects in Guatemala are a great way to give back to the community that has been so welcoming to Karl and his wife and also to learn more about the magnificent and unique Mayan culture. The days spent on clinics and the off days travelling and enjoying the country with the volunteers are incredible memories that Karl is lucky enough to experience time and time again.

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Laurence Girard, Assistant Site Coordinator

Guatemala

Laurence is a French Canadian in love with the world and adventure. Prior to her training as a travel agent, she had only one idea in  her head: to go off to explore the world. She left with her backpack for the first time in 2005. Travelling from Mexico City to Bangkok passing by Buenos Aires, Central America, South-East Asia and South America, where she studied at university until 2010.

Then, Guatemala became her place of residence and the Mayas her family. Manager of a hotel, founder of a travel agency, wife and mom, Laurence is glad to be part of team Guatemala for Volunteers Around the World.

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Dr. Israel Hernandez, Medical Coordinator

Guatemala

Dr. Israel Hernandez graduated from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala in 1995, with the title Medical Doctor and Surgeon. Dr. Hernandez also has a Post Graduate title in Community Attention to Persons with Diabetes from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.

He has worked for 15 years in Community Health and currently holds a diploma for Risk Management and Reduction from the Instituto Nacional de Administracion Publica de Guatemala. Dr. Hernandez is also studying for a diploma in Nutrition in Emergency Situations from the Instituto de Nutricion de Centroamerica y Panama (INCAP). Dr. Hernandez began working with Volunteers Around the World in 2004 and has been instrumental in the development of the organization.

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Dr. Reynaldo Medina Díaz, Medical & Site Coordinator

Panama

Hello! My name is Reynaldo A. Medina Díaz and I am a Rotating Doctor with Volunteers Around the World. I began working with VAW in the winter of 2013 when they opened a clinic site in my country, the Dominican Republic.

Since then, I have been given the opportunity to have some of the best experiences someone could ask for – helping those less fortunate than myself and giving back to communities in need, providing medical services and education at home and abroad. Working with VAW has given me the opportunity not only to give back to those in need, but also to share my passion with the students who work alongside the doctors and patients at clinics, teaching them about medicine.

I grew up in La Vega, Dominican Republic and attended university at the Universidad Católica Tecnológica del Cibao (UCATECI) where I graduated as a Doctor in General Medicine (Family Practice). I hope to eventually specialize a surgeon. I currently work at the Hospital Traumatológico y Quirúrgico Profesor Juan Bosch, which is located in the community of El Pino, La Vega. The hospital is government-run and allows those less fortunate to have access to medical care that they might otherwise not have. Additionally, the hospital has also been able to support Volunteers Around the World’s projects in numerous ways.

Since beginning to work with Volunteers Around the World in 2013, I have been able to become more involved with the organization and have watched it grow and expand to new communities, offering greater access to more people. I hope to continue to be able to participate with this incredible organization for many years to come.

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Dra. Yokasta Paulino, Medical & Site Coordinator

Panama

Hello! My name is Yokasta Paulino and I am the Panama Medical Director and a Rotating Doctor with Volunteers Around the World. I began working with VAW in the winter of 2013 when they opened a clinic site in my country, the Dominican Republic.

Working with VAW has been one of the best opportunities I have been able to experience because one of my passions is helping those who would not otherwise have access to essential resources, such as health care and proper nutrition. I feel fortunate to be able to help provide healthcare to those less fortunate not only in my country, but also abroad.

I grew up in La Vega, Dominican Republic and attended university at the Universidad Católica Tecnológica del Cibao (UCATECI), where I graduated as a Doctor in General Medicine (Family Practice). I hope to eventually specialize as a pediatrician. I currently live in La Vega, where I work in as a Family Practice Doctor at a Primary Medical Care Clinic in the community. The clinic is government-run and provides medical services to those in need who do not have access other sources of healthcare. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, spending time with my family and friends, and traveling to new places.

Since becoming involved as a doctor at a mobile medical clinic in the Dominican Republic with Volunteers Around the World in 2013, I have had the opportunity to become more involved in the organization over the time. I hope to continue working with VAW as many years as I can, as their mission to bring health care, nutritional and water security and education to communities around the world align with my passion of providing medical services to those in need.

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Veronica Joseph Antunez, Assistant Site Coordinator

Panama

Veronica was born and raised in Bocas del Toro. She moved to the Virginia when she was 15, where she attended high school. She started university at Thomas Nelson Community College in Virginia, studying Culinary Arts and Hotel Management.

She returned to Bocas del Toro in 2008. She currently lives on Isla Bastimentos with her two young sons and mother. When she is not working with Volunteers Around the World, she works at a local hotel.

During her free time, Veronica enjoys spending time with her sons, hanging out with friends, hunting for iguana and generally enjoying the beautiful Bocas del Toro. She is very excited to be working with Volunteers Around the World to bring primary medical care to communities around the Bocas del Toro region-some of which only receive medical care two or three times per year. She looks forward to meeting all of the volunteers this upcoming summer and helping introduce them to all that Bocas del Toro has to offer.

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Nicole Arguedas Nieri, Site Coordinator

Peru

Nicole lived in Ica, the city of the eternal sun, until she was 18. After that, she moved to Lima to study at Lima University. She is a Communication Specialist with great passion for innovation in the social sector.  She has worked in several companies in corporate communication and corporate social responsibility.  After working in Lima for a while, she decided to fly to Barcelona and get a Master’s Degree in Public and Social Politics. After two years living in Gaudy’s city, she came back to Perú, her country.

Nowadays, she is living in Cusco, enjoying the beauty and culture of the Incan City. In her free time, she enjoys walking around the Historic Center, going to the Philharmonic Orchestra or some of the local concerts in the city. When she is not working with Volunteers Around the World, she is a Consultant in marketing and communications and also a Professor of a corporate social responsibility class.

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Marina Ascue Cabrera, Assistant Site Coordinator

Peru

My name is Marina Ascue and I was born and raised in Cusco, although I also spent part of my childhood in Arequipa. I finished my high school studies at San Borja High School, the first high school in the city of Cusco. I earned my degree in tourism from the University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and teaching them about my culture and beautiful home region.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. When I’m not working, I will often travel with my family to the Cusqueñan countryside to enjoy the peace and natural beauty. I enjoy working with Volunteers Around the World because not only do I get to meet the VAW volunteers and show them Cusco, but we also get to give back to the people of Cusco.

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Dr. John Huamanquispe Quintana, Medical Coordinator

Peru

Hello! My name is John Huamanquispe and I am a physician with a focus in public health (epidemiology) and a professor in the School of Medicine at the Universidad Andina del Cusco. I love to teach statistics, epidemiology and health sciences investigation methodology.

I graduated from the Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco and currently work at the Social Security Hospital (EsSalud) in Cusco Peru. I have always had a passion for giving back to underserved populations. I like to develop and administer medical and social assistance programs that have a real impact for low-income and at-risk families.

In 2015, I began working with Volunteers Around the World as the Medical Coordinator in Peru. I am very grateful for the opportunity, as it allows me to pursue what I am passionate about in my field. I feel VAW’s objectives to improve access to to healthcare and health education–including nutritional and water security and waste disposal–to underserved populations align with my own goals and passions, which makes my job even more fulfilling.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with wife and two beautiful daughters, playing soccer, dancing, listening to music and reading. I am proud to form a part of the VAW team and I am excited to continue developing the projects for the volunteers and local communities in Cusco, Peru.

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Dr. Carlos Rosenthal, Dental Coordinator

Peru

Hello! My name is Carlos Rosenthal and I’m from Cusco, Peru. I am a dentist in Cusco and I started working on Volunteers Around the World this past year (2015) when they opened mobile medical clinics in my country. This upcoming year I will be the VAW Dental Coordinator in Peru.

I completed my professional studies at the Universidad Andina de Cusco. I currently work in a health center in Cusco and in a medical & dental clinic formed by my family. In my free time, I love to play and watch soccer and listen to music.

What I like about working in with the VAW family is the opportunity to share cultures, experiences and smiles of joy and gratitude between the people we are serving and the volunteers and staff. It fills me with joy and satisfaction. I am grateful to be part of the VAW family because it is a great way to use my professional skills and give back to others, which is one of my goals.

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Dr. Diep Doan, Medical Coordinator

Vietnam

Hi! My name is Diep Doan. I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I am a Pediatrician and Professor at the University at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I have been a professor since 1990; I teach my students about pediatric problems. I am also interested in social work, especially for children, and I have given many training courses for health workers in the highlands.

Every year, we organize mobile clinics for children and adults in mountains. We request financial support from family and friends to fund the clinics. This year, I am very happy for the opportunity to do mobile clinics with Volunteers Around the World.

My last humanitarian travel was to Nepal in 2016. While in Nepal, we had mobile clinics with my colleagues as well as gave presentations to the hospitals there. My next work in Vietnam will be in March 2017; it will be a mobile clinic for leprosy patients. This summer, I am happy to begin working as the Medical Coordinator for VAW Vietnam!

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August 30, 2016

A few months back we caught up with one of our veteran Team Leaders and Chapter Presidents Arush Lal. Arush is a Business Major on…

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