Dec 26, 2012

Story of Baby Burton: Overcoming Cultural Bias

"Baby Burton," born with multiple birth defects
"Baby Burton," born with multiple birth defects

Holiday Greetings for our Global Giving Friends:  All of us at "Send Homeless Bolivian Woman to School for a Year" wish you a happy holiday season and blessings and joy in the year ahead.  In 2012 we provided full dental treatment to over 7,000 children from the under-served populations of Bolivia.

Serving 7,000 Indigenous Bolivians:  Including HIV positive children, Burn Patients, Homeless Children & Children with Birth Defects.  Besides providing dental cleanings, fillings, and preventative dental care to children affected by HIV, burn patients, and homeless children, we strive to connect children who have congenital birth defects with dental professionals in Bolivia.   

Success Story of Baby Burton:  Born with Multiple Birth Defects & Now Overcoming Cultural Bias & being fitted with a Hearing Aid.  Meet Baby Burton who is now standing for the first time with a little help from his dad.  Baby Burton, now two-and-a-half years old, was born with a cleft palate.  He was also missing both thumbs and found to be deaf.  We stepped in and coordinated other professionals in Cochabamba to help his family.  This fortunate todler is now walking, eating solid food for the first time, and being fitted for a hearing aid.  His case, like so many others, is complicated by cultural values and concerns, and a lack of education.  We are working with his family to help them understand that they should not be ashamed of their child's birth defects.  This Christmas, Baby Burton is not wearing a hat to cover his misshapen ears, but instead is walking proudly unencumbered. 

Your Help Makes our Unique Dental Hygiene School Possible.  Thank you for showing that you care for Baby Burton, and so many like him, by supporting our groundbreaking work here in Bolivia, one of the poorest nations in Latin America.  We can continue to train young indigenious women, and thus give them a skill so that they might become examples and leaders in their community, because of your help.


Nov 5, 2012

Students Bead Thank-you Gifts for Soroptimists

Morachata's Mobile Clinic with boy in wild socks
Morachata's Mobile Clinic with boy in wild socks

Dental Hygienist Students Bead Thank-you Gifts for Soroptimists

Our grateful dental hygiene students showed their creative and craft skills by beading gifts for the Soroptimist ladies of Washington State.  Several students made colorful ties and sent them back with me to present as gifts.  The women were overjoyed to receive these thoughtful gifts, and this Soroptimist organization of Washington State, and the one in Bolivia plan to keep helping these deserving students.

Annual Smiles Forever Auction Featured U.S. Volunteers 

Both Tracy Wayman, DDS and Deborah Mcglynn-Chiu, RHD spoke to a receptive audience at our annual auction about the dental school where they had volunteered last February.  Their personal stories and pictures they shared inspired everyone at the fundraising event.  Deborah Mcglynn-Chiu's instructional manual has been an immense help to the program.  Dr. Wayman was happy to share his excitement about the program, and he also was delighted to be reunited with my rambunctious 6-year-old son, Andre. 

About my Children Andre & Giselle

My Bolivian husband Freddy and I discovered Andre when he was just two in an orphanage.  Now his life is filled with fun and people, including both sets of loving grandparents, and now his soon-to-be sister Giselle, also from an orphanage.  Both our darling children have benefited from modern science:  reconstructive facial surgeries, and in Giselle's case a special hearing aid.

Festive Guitar Music from Sin Fronteras 

The acoustical guitar music at our event I thought was not only beautiful, but rang true.  The musical group was called Sin Fronteras, "Without Frontiers."  Truly our world can work together, without borders or frontiers.  Our school for indigenious Bolivian women is a testament to generosity and brotherhood. 

Our Communication Promise:  More Visuals! 

A film was specially put together featuring still photos and an interview with a graduate of our school.  Her life has been dramatically changed.  We have three students now headed off to continue their studies and become dentists.  Those of us dedicated to working at the Bolivian school, are going to try and share more photos with you online, so that you'll feel closer to the community you help. 

Thankful at Thanksgiving Season 

The Smiles Forever staff in the U.S., and all our staff in Bolivia, are thankful for our safety, and for the chance to change lives for the better.  In October Alexis Nadine and Britt Lake from Global Giving came to Washington State and gave an all-day workshop on the Microsoft campus.  Not only were the box lunches a hit, but also these women and their message of world-wide caring were a big hit.  Alexis and Britt shared a very cute video of life back home in the Washington, D.C. office, a place which was closed recently for Hurricane Sandy's landfall.  Alexis and Britt started us thinking about ideas to generate holiday giving and to involve more of you through your friends.  Everyone's connections are important, so thank you for spreading the word. 

Twelve-year Tribute:  "It was YOU!" 

The theme of the 12th Annual Smiles Forever fundraiser, "It was YOU!" comes from a song my children sing on their way to school.  It is a heartfelt way of expressing, that "It Was YOU," who helped us launch and sustain this unique dental hygiene school--one-of-a-kind in all South America.  To carry that idea further, "It IS YOU!" who keeps the doors open, changing so many lives by helping 7,000 yearly. 

Thank you everyone, 

Colorful "Mouth Map" Made by Bolivian Students
Colorful "Mouth Map" Made by Bolivian Students
Oct 1, 2012

Bolivian Dental School's Projects 2012 - 2013

Bolivian Girl's Winning Smile
Bolivian Girl's Winning Smile


On the last quarter of 2012 a new project will be launched:  Smiles Forever's Bolivian Hygienists School for Indigenous Women will provide quality dental services for children at the Oncology Hospital of Cochabamba.  We will provide preventative and restorative services to children affected with cancer.  Most of the patients are low income interns from rural areas and parents cannot provide any dental care for their children.    


Also, our new dental facilities is projected to open on the last quarter of 2012.  These new facilities will allow us to increase the number of beneficiaries served with quality dental work , using a rotation of dental hygiene students.     


For the first quarter of 2013, fluoride campaigns will start in different public schools.  This will allow us to expand the community service program and to provide prevention to larger groups and identify and attend dental emergencies that can be life-threatening.


Thanks to the SOROPTIMIST group of Cochabamba, our dental hygiene students are receiving the benefit of workshops about cancer (all types, especially the ones that affect women).  The objective is to transfer the knowledge to all the women with whom we work by using smaller workshops which adapt well to our training system.


In 2013 we will receive two new students from the Mariano Baptista School, situated in the mountains of the rural municipality of Morochata.  The new students will receive the benefit of free education and will live as interns in the Smiles Forever's transition house where they will have all the housing accommodations that they will need to complete the program.  The new beneficiaries of the dental hygiene training program will have the objective to return to Morochata and work for the community and smaller and more distant villages where Smiles Forever can't reach.   Their training at the Cochabamba school will not only prepare them to identify dental emergencies, but also equip them with the knowledge to provide preventative care.       


The graduating class of 2014 will be successfully completing their training with excellence.  Our graduates are highly motivated and fully expect to start working for dentists in the community.  All of us here in Bolivia sincerely thank our generous Global Giving family, for your continued support!  It is because of your continued gifts that we can with confidence do long-term planning.  Our projects now being put in place to help children with cancer, help even more distant villages, and to sustain our excellence to fully prepare our graduates -- all are possible with your support and blessing.


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