Please help Dentaid provide dental care for refugees in Greece

This is Samos refugee camp.  Around 1000 people live here after fleeing war, persecution, poverty and violence. No dental treatment has been available and people are suffering terrible toothache.  Many refugees are on liquid diets and can’t eat because their dental pain is so severe.  International dental charity Dentaid is determined to help.

Over the coming months Dentaid is sending teams of volunteer dental professionals to provide emergency dental care in the camps in Samos and neighbouring Lesvos.   

Dentaid needs your help to provide dental equipment, medicines and other materials for the clinics.

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Make a difference with dentistry.

Find out more about Dentaid’s volunteering trips to Lesvos and Samos at Dentaid.org

Why volunteer?

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Why volunteer? And for the sake of argument let’s include fund raising.

Earlier today I spent a couple of hours in one of the nicest places in Ireland being a marshal in a 10K race & walk held on the roads around Union Hall. Why did I do it? Firstly, because Susan asked me if I would, she is a volunteer for the local RNLI branch and some of the runners were raising funds for “the lifeboats”. Secondly, because I hadn’t done this activity here before. Third, and most important, it meant that by giving up some of my time to stand on a road looking out at Glandore Harbour other people were able to take part in a community event to do something that brought them together.

I have done these things for as long as I can remember. The early ones were the sponsored walks, the YogJog, in 1966,67, 68 & 69. when thousands of supporters of South Wales Young Oxfam Groups walked the 26 miles from Cardiff to Porthcawl. These events took place in October, leaving Cardiff at Midnight and heading off against the prevailing wind along the A48 to reach Porthcawl, and the buses home, at about 8am on Sunday morning.

There followed activities for “SCAN” – Student Community Action Newcastle when I was a student – this meant running a couple of Discos without a fee as fund raisers. (I felt I was doing the vinyl equivalent of the concerts for Bangla Desh and later Live Aid).

After University I joined Round Table and then Rotary, each organisation having as one of its aims to raise funds and awareness for others less fortunate. I have run in many races including several London Marathons where the only thing that kept me going through training and injuries was the fact that I had committed to a cause. But it is the volunteers at London and other events which makes them happen. The people who control the crowds, hand out the water, medals and sandwiches and stop the hordes hitting traffic bollards that really make the events happen. They are the vital cogs in the machine.

In addition, voluntary activities with British Dental Association (which have persisted beyond my clinical career) and support of the dental charities Bridge2Aid, Dentaid and The British Dental (now Oral) Health Foundation have meant my involvement in professionally related causes.

When we first moved to West Cork, Susan took part in a historical research where volunteers mapped old graveyards by recording position and inscriptions, where possible, on headstones. The Irish Diaspora is massive and the work has already helped people from around the world research their ancestors. She got to meet a lot of people, made friends and learned about the area and its history.

Why do it? Obviously, if I and my ilk didn’t there is a chance that things wouldn’t happen, that money wouldn’t be raised, that the causes like the RNLI, Marie Curie, Oxfam and dozens of hospices would not be able to do the work they do.

Also I wouldn’t have had the fantastic experiences that I have had in the generation of funds, the direct action and the making of friends.

So why don’t more people put their hands up, get off their sofas, give of their time, expertise and energy?

Dentaid seeks volunteers for refugee camps in northern Greece

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International dental charity Dentaid is seeking volunteers to provide emergency dentistry at two refugee camps in northern Greece.

The charity has been approached by the Red Cross which says there is a desperate need for dentistry at its camps in Cherso and Nea Kavala which are each home to 4,000 people.

Although there is some basic healthcare in the camps there is no dental provision adding to the appalling suffering faced by thousands of people who have fled their homes.

Dentaid is putting together a team of volunteer dentists, dental nurses and therapists who will fly to Thessaloniki in northern Greece, which is a short distance from the camps at Kilkis. Working from a tent and using portable equipment, the team will provide pain relieving dental treatment for the adults and children caught up in the humanitarian crisis.

“Dentistry is an area where there is a real gap in provision and none of the agencies are providing it,” said Gwen Wilson from the Red Cross.  “There is a desperate need and we are keen to get volunteers out there as soon as possible, although they will need to be able to work in the most basic conditions.”

The Red Cross has been working tirelessly to improve sanitation in the camps but access to personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste has been very limited.  Many of the refugees have been suffering dental pain for a long time and have developed complications affecting their health.

“The images we have seen of people in the refugee camps in Greece are deeply upsetting and worrying,” said Andrew Evans, strategic director of Dentaid.  “We know there is a huge dental need and we are pleased that the Red Cross has approached Dentaid so that we can help.”

A small team of dentists is planning to travel to Greece in the coming weeks to establish the first dental clinics in the camps.  Dentaid plans to send a larger team of volunteers in June.  Volunteers will be asked to cover the cost of their trip and Dentaid will oversee their registration with the Greek authorities.

To find out more or to register interest please contact kerry@dentaid.org or call 01794 324249.

Dentaid launches first Pay What You Can dentistry scheme

International dentistry charity Dentaid has teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury to launch a new scheme that will help vulnerable people who find it difficult to access NHS dentistry.

The Real Junk Tooth Project will provide emergency, pain relieving dentistry.  A pilot project is being launched in Dewsbury on Thursday, December 3 and, if it is successful, could be introduced in other towns and cities in 2016.

Dentists and support staff are volunteering their time to provide emergency treatment on a ‘pay what you can’ basis. Between 6pm and 8pm people suffering dental pain can turn up and wait to be seen at Dewsbury Dental Centre on Halifax Road in the West Yorkshire town. They will only pay what they can afford.

The idea came about after The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury realised that many of the homeless people, low wage and migrant workers, and vulnerable people it was feeding at its cafes and drop-in sessions couldn’t enjoy their meals of donated food because they were suffering from toothache. Many had been living in pain for several months.

Dentaid is committed to eradicating dental pain around the world whatever people’s circumstances might be. We are working with The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury to launch the project which is our first in the UK. Dentaid is also looking for other dentists who would be interested in volunteering their time for future Real Junk Tooth Projects and would love to hear from anyone who would be willing to donate consumables. Please email info@dentaid.org or call 01794 324249.

TO DONATE TO THE REAL JUNK TOOTH PROJECT PLEASE VISIT https://mydonate.bt.com/events/dentaiddewsbury/256492

To find out more about The Real Junk Tooth Project visit http://therealjunktoothproject.org/
For more information about Dentaid visit www.dentaid.org.

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Pictured: Paul Burr from the Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury,with dental nurse Katie Labourn and dentist Nick O Donovan who are volunteering their time for The Real Junk Tooth Project

Dentaid helps (and seeks help) in Calais refugee camps

A team of volunteers is heading to the refugee camps in Calais tomorrow to provide emergency dentistry for people who have fled war and persecution.  Dentaid has provided a DentaidBox, equipment and advice to Kiran Ismail, a Manchester pharmacist who is leading a team of dentists and healthcare professionals in Calais. The team is setting up a dental clinic in the Jungle Camp which has become home to 4,000 people. Every day many people are arriving at the camps suffering from terrible dental pain and there is no-one to treat them.  But Dentaid is determined to help.

The team will be seeing patients in a caravan in the camp with a marquee acting as a waiting room.  They hope to establish a dental surgery on the site and that other dentists will also volunteer to help in the migrant crisis.

One of the charity’s trustees, Jonathan Gollings, has recently returned from France where he saw the desperate need for dental care in the camps. French law states that any dentist who works in the camps must be registered in the country and have permission to practice in Calais.

Dentaid is now appealing for any UK dentists who registered to practice in France, or French dentists, to volunteer their skills.

Please call us on 01794 324249 to find out more.

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Address: Giles Lane, Landford, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 2BG
Website: www.dentaid.org
Email: info@dentaid.org