Emma’s blog

Posted in: Blog, by Visits, on 19th April 2018 | 0 comments

For those of you who have volunteered chances are you will have dealt with Emma –  one half of our superb Volunteer Team.  As part of her professional development and to further her understanding of what our volunteers experience Emma is joining a Dental Volunteering Programme this May.  We asked her to share some thoughts on how she feels about the prospect…

“I can’t quite believe that I’m writing this blog! Less than two years ago I was still being called “Mrs Johnson” on a daily basis by my class of Primary school children. I had spent 23 years of my life as a teacher but reached a point where I needed a change. So here I am working as part of the ‘Volunteer Team’ for Bridge2Aid!

I first heard about B2A about 10 years ago when my local dental practice organised several fundraising events including a few energetic, slightly sweaty Barn dances! From then on every yearly check up at the dental practice displayed more photos of the amazing work our local dentists and nurses had been carrying out in Tanzania. Imagine how intrigued I was when I saw that B2A had a job vacancy in their UK office described as “….a great opportunity for someone who wants a job that is making a real difference.” Throughout my career as a teacher I had always tried to make a difference to the lives of the children I taught so this really appealed to me.

Nearly two years on and I can honestly say that working as part of Bridge2Aid’s small but dedicated family has been brilliant. It has its challenges like any organisation but we work through them as a team. Instead of guiding my class of 5 year olds, I now do my best to organise, support and encourage the amazing dentists, nurses, therapist and hygienists who volunteer on our programmes. I really enjoy getting to know them from the moment I receive their application form, to meeting them at our UK training days and finally reading their post trip emails where they describe the life changing experience that they’ve had in Tanzania. Although very different to teaching, I feel that from my desk in the UK I am still helping to make a difference to the lives of our volunteers and through them, the lives of people in Tanzania.

In May this year I will be joining a team of B2A volunteers in Tanzania to experience one of our programmes for myself!  I am excited and nervous all at the same time, but most of all I feel very lucky and privileged to be given this opportunity.

My Grandpa was a dental surgeon and in 1969 he went to Adelaide University for a year teaching Prosthetics. While there he helped with research on the Walibri tribe of Aborigine people in Central Australia. The pictures he took of mouths and teeth, he then used in his teaching. Following on from this, he then took up a senior lectureship at the University of Otago Dental School in New Zealand. I wonder what he would say about the adventure I’ve begun in the world of dentistry and the experience I am about to have!”

Emma will write another blog upon her return and it’ll be shared here.

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