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Smile in Pink – a day that so many are waiting for

Posted in: Blog, by Mark Topley, on 2nd June 2015 | Comments Off on Smile in Pink – a day that so many are waiting for

 

11112491_10152930697005677_47797664594207011_nFriday 5th June sees our second annual ‘Smile in Pink’ day in aid of Bridge2Aid take place. Over 40 practices around the country, plus the whole of the Oasis Dental Care network will dress up in pink for the day, and raise as much money as they can to support Bridge2Aid!

It has been a real pleasure to see the pre-event activity on social media – longstanding and new supporters looking forward to the day, getting their polo shirts through the post and planning their fundraising.

But the people most looking forward to Smile in Pink day aren’t even aware that it’s happening. They are the thousands suffering from crushing dental pain who live in East Africa right now, and who will ultimately benefit from Friday’s frivolity.

Today, smiling is sadly the last thing they feel like doing. They’ve already been in pain for a long time, and live far, far away from anyone who can help. On average, the patients we see during our training & treatment programmes have been in pain for 621 days. A third will have been in pain longer than a year; a third longer than 18 months, and one fifth longer than two years.

But help is on the way – both in the short term, and crucially, the long term.

What Bridge2Aid does

Bridge2Aid is not really about getting western dentistry to these people. Our mission is to relieve their pain, prevent it in the future, and help them to return to a fully functional quality of life so they can pursue their livelihood. We’re committed to building the rural health care system to do this by training local health workers in emergency dentistry, and treating the community in the process.

You can watch a 3 minute video here that sums up what we do and why.

What we do is all about an ethical and sustainable approach. We use dental volunteers in a way that is not about what we want to do, but all about what is most needed. Our contribution is the kick-start for local capacity building – we get out of the way and don’t make ourselves part of the long term solution.

What you can do

It’s great that our 70th and 71st Dental Volunteer Programme teams start work today, in two new regions of Tanzania. Over the next 9 days they will treat close to 2,000 people, and train 12 local health workers in emergency dentistry. Each patient costs £5 to treat and educate. Every one will be a story of hardship and suffering coming to an end – almost 90% of them will have been in pain for more than a year.

So I’d like you to do one of two things (or both!)

We rely on your donations and fundraising to do this work (and 88.9% of your money goes directly to the programmes), so please help:

  • Donate now – how many people would you like to treat this week? £5 gets each person out of pain
  • Smile in Pink on Friday  – it’s very simple to take part. Whether you are already registered or not, why not aim to raise enough money to help as many patients as you would expect to see on Friday?  Call us on 0845 8509877 or email fundraising@bridge2aid.org now to get a pack sent out to you.

Your donations and fundraising will have a huge impact. As well as these programmes in June we have others in July, September and November this year. The work never ends while there are people in pain, but through your generosity, you help to not just treat people now, but also train someone who can help their community in the future. That’s what makes Smile In Pink day so different, and why I for one, am really looking forward to it.


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