IN THE NEWS
INTERNATIONAL WORKAlthough our focus is local service within our own community, Share a Smile volunteers have traveled abroad to help the needs in third world countries. In June of 2002 we provided the equipment and supplies for sealants to be placed on orphaned children in Haiti. Board of Directors member, Eileen Bidstrup, along with other Utah volunteers visited two large orphanages and placed sealants and gave oral hygiene education.
In November of that same year 19 Share a Smile volunteers went to Bolivia to provide dental care to children in a remote village. During the twelve days we were in the country we provided about $60,000 worth of dental services and education mostly to children. Nearly 1000 people came through our makeshift clinic. We met with the local dentist near the village and recruited his efforts in the work. Again, our emphasis was education and saving teeth.
In 2003 we were invited by the Utah Russia Institute and the Moscow Mayor’s office to give service in Russia. We spent 12 days providing just over $110,000 worth of dentistry to orphaned and needy children in Moscow and in a remote city called Kostroma. This expedition included: Dr Eric Vogel, a general dentist from Utah; Daniel Burr, an endodontist from Utah; Brent Christensen, a dentist living in China; and Rima Egoshina, a Russian dentist; Dimitry Egoshina, a Russian Anesthesiologist; 3 hygienists; 3 assistants; 2 translators; and 9 health educators and auxiliary. The trip was a wonderful success. We were able to work along side a Dr Egoshina and teach her new skills that she could use and pass on to her colleagues. The vision of service was passed on and she is now donating a day a month to her local poor.
In December of 2003 Share a Smile board members agreed to take along dental supplies on their family vacations and give a day worth of service. Dr Eric Vogel teamed up with friends and relatives to provide dental care at an orphanage in Mexico. Eileen Bidstrup took hygiene kits and gave oral health education to the children in squatter villages in East Malaysia.
We have recently been invited by the United States State Department and the China Charity Foundation to come help orphaned children in China. We are currently working on plans to travel there April 2005.
We have specific goals that we want to achieve with all of our international projects. These goals always include involving the local dentists. In this way we can be assured that the service work will continue after we have left. It also gives us a chance to improve the quality of dentistry by teaching new skills.
We hope that by serving one another we can promote better understanding and relationships between nations. At a time when many nations are at odds with one another we feel the importance of promoting peace by serving one another.
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