For the eighth consecutive year, the Fundación MIR brings big smiles and clean teeth to the children of La Romana with Dental Week at La Escuela Campo Nueva Esperanza. Dr. James Hudson and his team from “World of Smiles” along with doctors and students from Rutgers University of Dentistry in New Jersey offered dental services to the pupils of the Fundación MIR schools in La Romana over a period of four days.
From Monday, April 30th- Thursday, May 3rd, Dr. James Hudson and his team of doctors and dental students, with the support of Dr. Gisselle Johnson who is in charge of the Fundación MIR Dental clinic, got to work on the children with the worst dental problems, treating both boys as well as girls from the Politecnico Fundacion MIR school. They worked tirelessly from 8 am to 6 pm and with their relentless dedication managed to treat more than 500 patients (students and a group of parents and MIR staff) during the week! We visited the school on Wednesday and were impressed by how well everything was going and how the kids collaborated with each of the doctors. Normally a trip to the dentist is not a walk in the park for children – or even for grown ups in some cases – but we saw how the doctors and students cared for them making them feel at ease with the procedures. They performed cleanings, extractions, filled cavities, and even repaired broken or chipped teeth leaving the kids with bright, shining, happy smiles!
The same day of our visit, the younger kids had been assembled in the school’s multi-purpose room where Dr. Muelitas from Colgate and his “helper” educated the kids on how they should take care of their teeth later dividing them into two teams and “quizzing” them to see if they had paid attention. The kids laughed and had a great time whilst answering the questions and even danced – whoever said that learning about proper dental hygiene was boring?! In the end, they each received a gift to help them on their journey to a bright smile.
Dr. James Hudson first visited the schools back in 2009, invited by his patient, Pepe Fanjul, brother to Lian Fanjul de Azqueta the founder and president of the Fundación MIR. He later formed The La Romana Oral Health Initiative (now formalized as World of Smiles Inc.) in continued collaboration with the New York Academy of Dentistry and US-based dental school and residency programs. They are dedicated to fostering humanitarian service as part of the educational process. Through the years they have been able to establish of tooth-brushing program for the younger grades; a program to have teachers place varnish throughout the year; the removal of high sugar drinks from the school and in May of 2016, a 6-chair dental clinic was opened at the school made possible thanks to the initial financial assistance of Rotary Club of West Palm Beach.
This activity has not only been helpful to the students of the Fundación MIR, but is also a memorable experience for the volunteers involved in it – many of whom attended as part of an internship program at the university, which allows them to do practices in different countries. This outreach, as in previous years, proved to be a great success!
Below a collection of pictures taken by Mairobi Herrera on Wednesday, May 2nd during this year’s dental outreach:
The Fundación MIR is a non-profit organization which works to provide education to the children of the greater La Romana area, who are most in need. They run 3 schools; the MIR Esperanza (boys vocational school), the Escuela Técnica Vocacional Fundación MIR (girls vocational school) and the Primaria MIR (infants school).
For more information on the Fundación MIR and to make a donation, visit their website: www.mirinternational.org
To make a donation contact the MIR office in Casa de Campo (809-523-8270) or in West Palm Beach (561-366-5095). Donations are tax deductible for US Citizens!