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. Children in shelters have no access to dental care without the Smiles Forever school's outreach program.
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. 7,000 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. When the mother is educated, she understands preventive and acute care for both medical and dental is paramount to improving the quality of life. Smiles Forever educated dental hygienists not only treat thousands during the course of their training, but they also return to work and in other ways serve their community.
Total Funding Received to Date: $4,518
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $23,182
Total Funding Goal: $27,700