When you’re suffering from dental problems, it can be hard to concentrate on anything else. But imagine having to cope with the chronic pain when you have nowhere to seek advice, treatment or medicine.
It was out of this painful reality for millions of people in the Global South that Bridge2Aid was born in 2004. An alarming 70% of the world’s population has no access to safe dental treatment, but Bridge2Aid aims to combat this by providing emergency dental training to health workers in rural communities, bringing life-changing skills and care to over 4 million people to date.
For the past 18 months, customers at branches of Oasis Dental Care across the UK have been supporting Bridge2Aid’s crucial work by donating a few extra pennies to charity when they pay by card. In that time, more than 100,000 micro-donations have been made, funds that have helped the charity reach people like Denis in Tanzania.
Denis is 23 years old and has suffered significantly for years due to his dental problems, which have affected his health, his work and his relationships with family and friends.
Not only was Denis from a poor family who couldn’t afford to pay for dental treatment, he also found himself unable to work for more than a few days at a time due to the pain caused by his dental issues, leaving him feeling trapped and helpless.
One of his relatives managed to raise 30,000 Tanzanian Shillings (£11) to help pay for his treatment, but due to a lack of awareness of proper dental treatments, the money was used to pay a local healer instead. Lacking the proper treatment, and enough money to repay his relatives, Denis’s dental problems began to have a negative impact on his family relationships too.
Just when Denis felt he could no longer cope and didn’t know where to turn, he heard about the Bridge2Aid training being conducted at a nearby health centre.
Denis didn’t believe the news until he visited the clinic himself and finally received the treatment and medicine he needed, treatment that freed him from the cycle of despair caused by his dental problems. Denis told Bridge2Aid he would never forget the treatment he received and will be forever thankful.
Denis was one of 853 patients who attended a Bridge2Aid Dental Training Programme in Bukoba in February this year, and is representative of millions of people across the world in desperate need of the charity’s support.
From October 2015 through to April 2017, Oasis Dental Care customers raised over £24,000 for Bridge2Aid by adding just 25p to their bills when paying by card for their own dental care.
To everyone who donated and helped raise this fantastic sum – thank you. To find out more about Bridge2Aid’s work, visit their website here.