SCHOOL ORAL HEALTH PROMOTION PROJECT 2019 – present
LOCATION: Soweto, South Africa
Dental Student volunteers from 7 different countries flew in to South Africa for this second phase of the Gogos Give Smiles pilot, beginning with an evaluation of phase 1 in the Ndebele Kingdom and getting to know the Veza Ukhuno Gogos.
A few days were spent investigating the new target community in Kliptown, Soweto, including homes, school, museum and church. Most of the children examined had tooth decay. About one third reported: avoiding smiling because of how their teeth look; difficulty chewing, and; missing class because of a toothache. The children eat and drink foods with added sugar on a daily basis.
The local Isizinda Sempilo Gogos were joined by our Ndebele Gogos and some guest experts in early childhood education, nutrition and subsistence farming, for a workshop to build relations, develop resources, educate and empower the Gogos to promote oral health in their community.
2 days were spent at Emadlelwini Primary school implementing a daily oral hygiene program including a 2-minute toothbrushing song in Zulu.
Additionally we worked at a rural special needs school, a home for abused women and children in Johannesburg and the tribal village of Mahukube near Nelspruit.
The team learnt about South African history and culture and experienced night & day safaris.
A dental volunteer from Egypt: “Thanks to this project I know what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Oral health was promoted amongst over 2000 children on this project.