Bringing Smiles to Kenya

A Community Dental Nurse from Hampshire has travelled to Mukamu in Kenya to help the Grace 24 Child Rescue Centre and Home project.

Julia Stares ran a three-day event for 120 of Mukamu's local women, teaching them basic hygiene and health care skills such as how to correctly wash their hands, to boil all water before using it, cover their food and how to recognise the important signs of dehydration and treat it. All of these simple steps can help to reduce the risk of disease and conditions such as diarrohea, which in 2002, was the third biggest killer of people of all ages in Kenya.

"All of these simple things could potentially save lives from this huge Kenyan killer as  drinking polluted water or eating contaminated food are major contributors to this condition," says Julie. "Nutrition was also a high on the list; we gave advice on how to supplement basic dietary needs by encouraging the ladies to grow their own vegetables and fruit. We also gave seeds to all the women with guidance on how to plant them."

As a Community Dental Nurse, Julie was also able to teach the women and children how to look after their teeth, brush correctly and spot any signs of decay. She also gave out toothbrushes with sealed containers to keep the flies away.

As well as all this, Julie also realised that another challenge which faced these ladies was getting a decent bra, so Julia managed to collect over 50 bras from colleagues, family and friends before her trip to give to the ladies. "When we gave them out, the ladies were thrilled with these basic gifts and over the moon at the efforts we'd gone to for them," Julie adds. The team also donated a sewing machine to the village to allow the women to make and repair their own clothes and bedding.

"It was a truly unforgettable experience, and one that I will cherish forever," Julie says. "I was so honoured to be given the opportunity to make a difference, and seeing the smiles on the faces of these women made it all worth the while for me."