Vania treating a child age 8 with Dr. Ricci
Your Donations Give Dental Care to the Sightless!
Alejandro, our Smiles Forever clinic director in Cochabamba, Bolivia sends good news about our addition of treating the sightless:
We just started with the blind group and ages vary really widely from 9 to 62. I know we have more focus on children for Global Giving, but here are two important points:
1.- We will help anyone in need no matter the age, but of course we are more focused on children.
2.- Special needs patients and adult patients are perfect for the students' training.
Here is the story behind how we began to give dental services to the blind:
They contacted us through a person who helped Smiles Forever in the past. After several meetings and the exchange of documents, we signed the agreement in August in the Smiles Forever offices. I signed for Smiles Forever and the president of their organization, Javier Alarcon Condori signed as their president. It is important in Bolivia to conduct business, even our charity, with formal agreements. Then we coordinated subjects like how we can offer adequate service for them. The first thing discussed is that they don't want to be treated differently from the rest which is awesome. Indeed equality is one of our values as an organization, but we agreed that in order for them to get used to the physical space of the clinic the first time special considerations and accommodations could be made.
How we introduce blind patients to our clinic:
Any patient who comes (with previous scheduling) we will watch for them at the door and conduct them until they sit on the chair in the treatment room. After the dental service we will walk with them to the bus stop or call a cab or whatever is needed to make sure they get home safely or to their center properly. I introduced Javier to the the staff and he visited our facilities and talked to some patients; he is a sweet man in his mid-40's. I saw a gesture of tenderness from our Dr. Ricci as she walked Javier to the bus stop. She waited and made sure he was on the right bus to go back home.
We began with the initial group of 18 beneficiaries, and will expand to treat their families:
The initial group is composed of 18 beneficiaries, and after their cycle of treatments, we will include their familes. Also, a highlight of the group is that it is composed of people whose economic situation is not the best. But as with anyone in need, it is Smiles Forever's mission to try and give as much as we can.
It is because of You--Our Friends from Global Giving around the world who care so deeply about those economically or physically handicapped that we can continue to give care to so many.
It is because of Your Generosity that we can in turn bring the happiness of being valued and of being free from dental pain. Muchas Gracias, Alejandro
About the number of organizations: we have reached 23 so far with signed agreements. Besides that we eventually have referral patients and people who work at the shelters to give dental care to those out-patients, too.
Here is the story of Vania, one of our more advanced students, who is learning so much more by being able to help those who have limited vision or who are blind:
Hello My Friends:
Thanks to all the Smiles Forever supporters, now I’m starting a new stage in my training to become a dental hygienist. Finally, the wait is over and I’m starting to do procedures and protocols on real patients. It is more complicated than using the dental models, especially if they are kids and they move a lot. I know that with my instructors help and guidance I will be able to overcome this difficult, but beautiful task. Also,I want to use these lines to thank anyone who has supported Smiles Forever. It’s not only about one little project --it's more! It’s a bigger picture and so many things involved, like training us, giving us guidance about things like how to make a monthly budget to organize our private lives. Smiles Forever is helping children and adults in need and way much more, and now they have a new group coming. It’s going to be my first time helping blind people. The new group Asociacion Vidas is composed of blind people and their families and their ages vary from 10 to 60 years old. This will be awesome for my training, but I am still a little nervous because of the fact that working with blind people is different. From helping them to walk into the clinic to making sure they leave or take the correct bus will be a new experience for us all. I am thinking how I’m going to explain home care techniques that are probably 80% visual to someone who cannot see, but we will make it. I look forward to seeing each of them again and I understand how proud they are to learn independence as they become accustomed to the layout of our clinic. Love, Vania
Global Giving hosts time-release 30% Bonus Day Wed. Sept. 21st: Best time for Seattle time zone donations is 9:01 a.m. Renew your valued support or even consider joining our Recurring Giver family!
Pyramids of market produce
Old Bolivian lady with modern pen
Smiles Forever group & clinic director Alejandro