Christopher Lewis, M.D.
Founder, Village Life Outreach Project.
After his first trip to Tanzania in 2003(link to beginning section), Dr. Christopher Lewis completed his residency and began building his practice with the group that became UC Health’s Primary Care Network, but his urge to return to Tanzania grew stronger and stronger. He began planning a service trip with a core group of volunteers to accompany him. Chris’ idea quickly transformed from one person’s vision of helping into a full-fledged non-profit, non-government organization.
“I wanted to have an impact on the health of hundreds in a part of the world where there is one doctor for every 33,000 people.” (Dr. Chris Lewis)
In the fall of 2004, merely a year since his first trip, Chris and his Village Life team made their first trip to Tanzania. Collaborating with SHED (Shirati Health, Education, and Development Foundation), the team carefully chose three communities that would work with Village Life toward long-term, sustainable solutions. Village Life began treating patients in mobile field clinics in the villages of Roche, Nyambogo, and Burere, using patient-care as building blocks for community engagement and relationship-forming.
This small team of dedicated volunteers made a commitment on that trip to continue working in these villages – identifying their primary concerns and developing solutions to address them.
Realizing these solutions would only be successful long-term if they were sustainable by the villagers themselves, the Village Life team adopted the methodology of giving a “hand-up” rather than a “hand-out” by providing the knowledge and resources necessary for self-sufficiency.
“Working with passionate members of the team in The United States and in Tanzania, I learned that no number is more important than one. One life, one cause, one love for this world and all of its inhabitants.” (Dr. Chris Lewis)
More than a decade of service, dozens of volunteer trips completed, and SHED team members working 24/7 on the ground in Tanzania, Village Life’s success still hinges on that number one. We rely upon the commitment of every single volunteer, the compassion of each donor, and the strength and insight of each resident of our Tanzanian partner villages to do the work we do.