By Maleena Kim
Is oral hygiene important to you? Be grateful for your toothbrush the next time you brush your teeth. Grade 12 students from Westmount Collegiate Institute in Thornhill, Toronto collects dental supplies for the children in Kenya as a school project. The group known as Smiles 4 Kenya has collected toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss – their ultimate goal is to provide every child in Kenya in need of oral care with a toothbrush. Smiles 4 Kenya has partnered up with A Broader View Volunteers, an organization that seeks to help third-world countries like Kenya. Every year A Broader View Volunteers sends student volunteers to undeveloped countries around the world to do various types of volunteer work. This year they’re going to Kenya to deliver dental supplies that Smiles 4 Kenya is providing for them.
It all started with a dream to reach out to the world and make a positive difference, which is what Smiles 4 Kenya and A Broader View Volunteers have in common. The grade 12 students dreamed of sending dental supplies to Kenya, the only problem was that they had no way of delivering them. That’s when they found A Broader View Volunteers, an organization that visits third world countries like Kenya in attempts to improve their economy. Sarah Ehlers, who works for A Broader View, gave hope to the grade 12 students. Sarah informed the grade 12’s that they could send their dental supplies through A Broader View Volunteers.
A Broader View Volunteers educates students by sending them to countries like Kenya to give them a different perspective – or in other words, a broader view (no pun intended). A A Broader View Volunteers has improved both third world countries and changed the opinions of students by opening their minds to a greater cause, which works as a ripple effect for the next generations to come.
Smiles 4 Kenya’s main goal is to focus on the children in Kenya. Imagine waking up in the morning and going to bed at night without being able to brush and floss your teeth, Kenyan children don’t have to imagine this. Most Kenyan’s cannot afford dental care, therefore not educated about proper oral hygiene. Brushing their teeth is seen as a luxury. Smiles 4 Kenya hopes to spread a smile by donating dental supplies to Kenyan children, and with the help of A Broader View Volunteers their goal became achievable.
Smiles 4 Kenya chose to provide dental supplies because having a toothbrush is a luxury that most people don’t realize. You can determine how healthy you are just by inspecting your mouth, a healthy mouth is a healthy body, and a healthy individual is a positive addition to society. Think of it this way: An ideal economy has proper health care and education; one toothbrush can add that first step towards betterment of Kenya.
Children in Kenya are often distracted in school by oral pain; therefore, they are unable to learn to their fullest potential. In Canada or America, if you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. In Kenya, if you have a toothache, you deal with it. Smiles 4 Kenya is here to change that, and A Broader View Volunteers is making it possible.