Bupa in the Community: Saving orphan smiles in Myanmar

30 July 2019 . United Kingdom

The Bupa Cares Community Fund gives Bupa employees the opportunity to support a charitable group or project that improves people’s health, wellbeing or the environment through monthly grants of up to £1,000. Nuria Delgado-Colomo, practice manager at Belgravia Dental Care, nominated the Inle Trust to receive a grant after seeing the charity at work during a volunteering trip to Myanmar. Here, Nuria explains how the money will be used to help improve oral health in the community.

Nuria Delgado-Colomo in Myanmar

“I’ve been a dental volunteer for many years, completing more than 15 trips to different areas across Africa and Nepal to deliver oral health care and education to communities in need.

Last year, I was fortunate to visit the Phaya Tuang Monastery - a beautiful and remote community in Shan State, Myanmar. The Monastery accommodates, feeds and educates more than 1,200 children. I spent six wonderful days with the children and monks living as they do; waking at 4.30am, joining meditations and enjoying simple meals of white rice and a side dish – 330kg of rice is consumed there each day!

After breakfast we would hold dental clinics. Despite being entirely preventable, tooth decay is a  common childhood illness and can lead to serious and costly oral health problems later in life. We taught the children how to look after their oral health, as well as providing any treatment they needed.

During my visit, I saw first-hand how much the children and community would benefit from continuous dental care and how critically they need dental facilities.

The Inle Trust has been involved with the Monastery for many years and helps improve the health of people living in the region though a range of water, sanitation, hygiene and education projects. I will be working with them to set up a new dental surgery and provide a team of dental volunteers to visit twice each year.

We are opening the dental surgery in November this year and have ambitious plans to expand the surgery from one chair to three chairs over the next two years, so we can provide care to all 1,200 orphans living at the Monastery, the monks and community living in the surrounding area.

Although I went to Myanmar wanting to help, I found the visit allowed me to find out more about myself. I left wanting to return and give back to the people who had given so much to me during my stay. I’m proud to be part of this long-term project to improve the quality of life for people living in this community.”

Find out more about Nuria’s campaign for the Inle Trust at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/nuria039s-campaign-for-the-inle-trust?member=2102540