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Upcoming Trip to Malawi for Smileawi

Published: 24 August 2017

Here at Clyde Munro, we’re really proud of dentist Ciara Dunleavy and dental nurse Chloé Gall who are both heading off to Malawi in September as part of a team of dental professionals who have volunteered to help the charity, Smileawi.

Smileawi was set up by dentists Vicky and Nigel Milne in 2012 after they visited Malawi with the Raven Trust and realised just how much dental help was needed out there. Since then, they have returned every year to set up clinics with the aim of getting people out of pain. They take teams of dental professionals with them, visiting various communities in Malawi and the charity has grown from strength to strength over the years thanks to their dedication to the cause.

We spoke to Chloé about why she has decided to embark on her upcoming trip to Malawi…

‘Charity work is something I have always wanted to do. I just think that no matter what age you are, we should all try to help those less fortunate than ourselves. By joining the Smileawi trip, I have the opportunity to potentially impact on hundreds of people’s lives, across multiple communities, using the skills I take for granted every day. Being pain free is something that most of us see as such a small thing, but many of the people in Malawi have been in dental pain for years, so it’s an amazing opportunity to be part of something like this.

‘I first became aware of Smileawi when Ciara, one of the dentists in my practice, mentioned she had signed up for this charity and it got me intrigued! I was so disappointed when I realised this year’s trip was full, but I asked Ciara what I needed to do to sign up for next year and she told me that one of the dental nurses had dropped out. I was so excited that I emailed Nigel and Vicky who were glad to hear from me! I was willing to try to raise the £1,500 to cover the cost of my trip in half the time everyone else was given, which showed how keen I was to go and help in any way I could.

‘The Royal College of Surgeons in Glasgow generously donated £2,500 towards Ciara’s fundraiser and it was agreed that I could benefit from the £1,000 left over from this donation after covering the costs of her trip. This was extremely helpful and left me with £500 to raise. I arranged a sponsored bungee jump off the Titan crane in Clydebank with a bungee BBQ afterwards, this was a great success raising £400 thanks to friends and family and a donation from the staff at Subsea7. I’m also holding a bake sale and tombola at The Golden Jubilee National hospital where my mum works. In order to help me raise money, everyone has been very kind and donated tombola prizes such as tooth whitening vouchers from the Clyde Munro Dental Group, a three course meal at Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, and a gift basket from Luss General Store donated by Patrick and Lottie Colquhoun.

‘Clive Schmulian, the principal dentist at Clyde Dental Centre, also kindly donated a courier load of dental supplies that I will be taking on my trip to Malawi, where the dentists will be carrying out extractions. I will be responsible for ensuring the dentist has everything they need, and for the decontamination of the instruments. We will be in Malawi for just under three weeks, during which time we will be travelling to different communities to help free as many people as possible from dental pain.

‘I think that we often take things for granted and don’t realise how lucky we really are; by undertaking this project I hope to come back a completely different person, with an understanding of different cultures. Malawi has next to no dental service with very limited supplies, which is where we come in by fundraising to purchase dental materials so that the teams they do have can do the best job they can. Being part of Smileawi is a once in a lifetime opportunity to take my knowledge and skills to help thousands of people, I can’t wait.’

Although we’re really going to miss Chloé and Ciara while they’re in Malawi, we think their commitment to the Smileawi charity is fantastic and we fully support them in their efforts to help this very deserving cause.

If you would like to help Chloé reach her fundraising target, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chloe-gallsmileawi to make a donation.

Click here to visit the Smileawi website and find out more about the amazing work of this charity.