In early August, the Child Health and Education program arranged free dental checkups at the local health clinic for scholarship students at Chacayá and Panabaj schools.
It was jarring to see the depth of need. Of the thirty-two students that arrived at the clinic, thirty needed a cavity filled or a tooth pulled. One girl had ten extractions and a few more cavities filled. Luckily, she was young enough that all of those extracted were primary teeth. Our Water, Santiation, and Hygiene program coordinators will make sure that she receives a toothbrush, toothpaste, and careful instruction about personal hygiene habits before her permanent teeth come in.
As for the students who weren’t able to receive checkups or operations the day of the clinic, the dentist left openings in his schedule for the next few weeks. By the end of September all of them will have received enough care to last through next year, when they’ll have the opportunity to revisit the dentist.
Along those lines, we’re thankful for our strong relationship with the local clinic. The dental work required at partner schools is far too much to address in a single day, and having an available dentist close by ensures that each student will receive the attention he or she deserves.
Now – in part due to medical checkups like these – nineteen scholarship students will be graduating the sixth grade this October. Most have already stayed in school longer than their parents did, and for those lucky enough to receive continued support from sponsors, the past six years will now serve springboard into new educational opportunities.
These nineteen graduates are a testament to your generosity and ongoing support. Because of you, they have been able to pursue education without sacrificing food or medical attention for the rest of their families.
Moving forward, we’d like to make next year’s graduating class even larger. Please consider donating to give a new grade of students the same educational opportunities that our current graduates enjoyed. It’s amazing how just a few dollars can make the difference between early entrance into the workforce and a high school or university degree.