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The Spirit of Volunteering – What Bridge2Aid means to me

Posted in: Blog, by Bridge2Aid Team, on 22nd May 2020 | 0 comments

The Spirit of Volunteering

What Bridge2Aid means to me

Yvonne Wood

Volunteering with Bridge2aid has been the most rewarding, memorable and the best experience in my whole dental career of 37 years.

Sharing my dental knowledge, skills, and experience where it is very much needed in Tanzania by training Health Care Workers (Clinical Officers) in emergency dental treatment and oral health education has been immensely rewarding. I never realised it would be so fulfilling and give me such a meaningful purpose to life.

I choose to volunteer with B2A in particular because I have seen first-hand just how successful their unique sustainable training model works in Tanzania. The Clinical Officers continue the good work helping people in their communities to improve their oral and general health long after we have returned home to the UK.

The impact this has on the daily lives of these people is immense; toothache is debilitating and can have serious consequences not just on oral and general health but it also has a far-reaching impact and wider implications; if you are unable to work because of toothache, it simply equates to no money…and you and your family may go hungry.

Back in the UK, the current coronavirus pandemic has given us a small taste of what dental pain and suffering feels like due to the closure of dental practices and the difficulty in accessing a dentist. We have heard ourselves the extremes people go to even in this country by extracting their own teeth!

Despite this, we are still very fortunate in the scheme of things when we compare to underdeveloped countries such as Tanzania; we have good access to health care, none of us will go hungry and government financial bail-outs will see us through. In Tanzania this is simply not available through no fault of their own and hence why being able to make a difference even in such a small way by dental volunteering is the reason I can’t wait to go back when the current climate allows.

Google ‘the benefits of volunteering’ and you will see just how much of an impact it can have on yourself in so many other ways. For me, on return to the UK after volunteering in Tanzania, it gives me a whole new perspective on life and great strength. I am completely energised with renewed zest and motivation in everyday life personally and at work.

Bridge2Aid is a small, friendly charity and the UK and Tanzanian team have become good friends as have the other dental volunteers I have met through B2A. Meeting like-minded people who I am sure will be lifetime friends is an additional bonus.

 

William Shakespeare –

‘ The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away’.


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