Medifund, a crowdfunding platform for medical students, has relaunched as a non-profit. The site, which is based in the Philippines but open to students around the world, was first covered by TechCrunch last year.
Its mission is to increase the number of doctors in countries with a critical shortage by helping students cover the cost of their education.
Founder Jossy Onwude, who is currently studying at Mham College of Medicine in Cebu City, the Philippines, decided to take the site non-profit because most of the investors he met were mainly focused on their potential financial return.
“We have had the opportunity to meet a few investors and they all care about how much they would make. I don’t blame them because that’s what they do,” says Onwude.
“But for us, we are not in the same page as we don’t care about how much we could make with this.”
As a result, Medifund decided to look at other ways to help students pay for their educations, including micro-loan and a student earning plan.
Medifund is currently hosting the fundraising campaigns of nine students from four countries, including several who had their education interrupted by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan.
Onwude hopes the site will help increase the number of doctors in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and his native Nigeria. He also wants the site to enable more women to pursue medical training.
To reassure donors and make sure that students who sign up for the platform are serious about their education, Medifund encourages them to update their campaigns with videos, transcripts, financial statements, and school recommendations.
Since doctors who train in developing economies often immigrate to countries where they can earn more money, students that successfully complete campaigns on Medifund must agree to work in the country that they train in for one year after they finish their degree.
One student raising funds is Cecile Louise M. Dejaño, a 22-year-old who wants to become a pathologist and is seeking $706. The money will help Dejaño, whose family was left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan, pay for tuition.
Dejaño told TechCrunch that she hopes her education will help her “diagnose patients with unusual cases” and plans to work in rural communities with limited access to medical facilities.
Ma. Dollyne Beltran, a 23-year-old who plans to become a cardiologist, hopes to raise $837 on the site. Beltran’s studies were interrupted after her hometown, Leyte, suffered severe damage during Typhoon Haiyan. Soon after, Beltran’s father was in a serious car accident and needed surgery.
“Life, I can say, is unpredictable,” Beltran said in an email. “One day I was doing okay as a medical student. Before I knew it, I’m struggling to keep the dream going.”
Medifund “made me hopeful that I can still continue studying medicine,” she adds.
“Despite all the challenges I am going through, at the end of the day my ultimate goal is to be a doctor and be able to help people, too.”