The Smiles Forever Dental Hygiene School in Cochabamba, Bolivia provides vocational training for homeless, indigenous women as they and the faculty provide free dental care to 6,500 homeless a year. These dental hygienist trainees now have a community service project in the remote village of Morochata, where recently 400 children received preventative fluoride care. Some children required critical care, including 77 extractions and medication from overseeing dentists from Bolivian & U.S.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. 85% of the population is indigenous. There is little medical or dental care available. Poor dental care compounds the risks caused by inadequate sanitation and poverty that contribute to the over 40% infant death rate in Bolivia. Periodontal disease can result in preterm babies and heart disease in adults. The culture relegates females to second class status. Without education and vocational training, most women end up working on the street.
How will this project solve this problem?
There is no denying that the woman is the primary socializing force of the family. Smiles Forever gives ten young, indigent women an opportunity each year to learn a profession, Dental Hygiene, which will allow them to provide for their families and enhance their lives. 6,500 Chidren receive free dental care each year during the course of the training. When a woman graduates, she is accredited and helped to be placed in a Dental Hygiene job. She is able to provide economically for her family.
Potential Long Term Impact
These newly trained professionals are role models for other homeless, indigenous women and the community at large. Many of them seek higher education. When the mother is educated, she understands prevention in medical and dental arenas. She values education and makes sure all of her children, including daughters, also receive education. An educated woman is more likely to vote and become a significant voice in her community and government. When women are in government, corruption reduces by 50%.
Total Funding Received to Date: $27,619
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $20,081
Total Funding Goal: $47,700