By Stacy Jacobson, ABC News
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) — Inside a brown brick building in Mt. Pleasant, an Islamic organization is bringing together people of all faiths and backgrounds. The Shifa clinic provides primary and gynecological care to uninsured men and women in the Lowcountry. Shifa is Arabic for “healing.”
Rosalinda Loredo is a volunteer at the clinic. Loredo acts as a translator for their Hispanic patients, about one-third of their patient population, Dr. Reshma Khan said.
“Everybody that works here, they have a heart to serve others and they make a big difference by working together,” Loredo said.
Dr. Khan started the free clinic four years ago while she was also working at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in downtown Charleston. She sought funding and upstart assistance from the Islamic Circle of North America, an Islamic social services organization operating in the U.S.
When Shifa opened in 2012, it was only open four hours a week. Khan ran everything herself.
“We used to see four or five patients a week,” Khan said. “I was the only one person doing everything. I was the provider. I was the person taking messages. I was the person doing photocopies.”
Now, the gynecologist said they see about 40 patients a week and it’s her full-time job. Though she doesn’t get paid, she left her job at the VA to run Shifa full-time as a volunteer.
“She has a passion for what she does,” Loredo said. “She works 60 to 80 hours [a week] to continue to help those people in need.”
“When people walk in and say, ‘This place is a blessing that touches my heart,’ it melts everything,” she said. “There’s no better place I would be, just to see the smile on people’s faces and every day we touch so many lives.”
Khan credited her Muslim faith with pushing her to take the risk. In light of a rise in Islamophobia, it has even more meaning today than it did when she started her quest in 2008.
“This is the face of Islam. Charity is very, very much in Islam and mercy and compassion and love and peace. That’s what I’m trying to do here,” she said.
And Loredo is proof it’s working; she was born in Mexico and moved to Johns Island as a migrant worker. She was a patient at Shifa until she got insurance two months ago. Today she helps others like her get the medical care they need.
The clinic is also looking for a volunteer optometrist or ophthalmologist to provide eye care. If you want to be a patient, you can apply here.
Article Courtesy: ABC News