Free Dental ScreeningMany kids in the rural areas of Romania still suffer from poor dental hygiene, and lack of information in regarding correct procedures of brushing their teeth. It may seem unbelievable, but we found out that in many cases, their parents couldn't even afford to buy toothpaste and a toothbrush, less alone replace it every several months, or teach their kids about proper dental hygiene. With this in mind, we started an international project with a couple of Rotary Clubs (Rotary Club Craiova - Romania, and Costa Mesa Rotary - United States). The goal was to provide free dental screening to as many as 150 children of ages 6 - 10, and to raise awareness of the many existing dental problems for children and adults as well, of rural communities.
We also needed a team of volunteer dentists for the job. We got very fortunate of having Dr. Sanda Negrea from Holland, and Dr. Adrian Angelescu from Romania, next to a local team of dentists who generously donated their time, materials, even dentist chairs in the cities of Filasi and Craiova. We got Dr. Siegfrid Binder and Dr. Arabella Copper from Filiasi, and dentists from "Helios Medical Center" of Craiova. We also received a last minute donation from "Procter & Gamble", consisting of toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children. "Children Aid" provided assistance, funds for supporting this project, coloring books, games, and puzzles for children, as well as a present for each of the kids present for the screening. However, aside from the excellent response and coordination of all parties involved in this project, the biggest success was the impact on children themselves. Many of them never seen a dentist before. Their first dentist visit was more like an entertaining field trip then doctor's office. The impact on the community was amazing as well. When we took the children home in the school bus to their families, their parents gathered around to thank us, and to ask when is the next dental screening... for themselves! Since they have no health insurance either, and no way of seeing a dentist on their own.
The project has received positive reviews in Romanian regional newspapers, and radio, with an article in the Rotary's District 5320 paper as well. After the overwhelming positive response from donors, volunteers and the community, we are trying to make this a yearly program, and implement it nationwide in Romania.
During winter, outside temperatures sometimes fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). Some classrooms had no heating and the bottled water used to freeze. Thanks to generous donors, Children Aid was able to help 300 children to study in warm classrooms. The project was started and completed in the summer of 2004.