When one hears of Cambodia, a Southeast Asian country that most of us may know little about, associated terms and past events might come to mind: Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, Killing Fields, Angkor Wat, etc.
The sad reality is that Cambodia continues to suffer from its legacy of decades of war and internal strife. Per capita income and education levels are lower than most of its neighbors. Infrastructure remains inadequate. Most rural households depend on agriculture, while manufacturing output is concentrated in the garment-manufacturing sector.
Amidst such conditions, we at Family Care Cambodia direct our efforts to the disadvantaged children. Recently, in partnership with visiting Swiss dental students and a team of Japanese volunteers, we organized a mobile dental clinic which visited 4 outlying provinces, providing free dental treatment and prevention classes for hundreds of children. In one area alone, 350 children were provided with 880 fillings, 184 scalings and 148 extractions over a 4-day period.
We’ve also made weekly arrangements with local orthodontists to bring in groups of orphans for dental check-ups and treatment at much reduced rates. The university clinic is brand-new with all of the latest equipment, very hygienic, and the dentists have been kind and gentle with the children, explaining every step of the treatment and comforting them throughout the procedures.
The kids being treated range in age from 9 to 20 years old. Most have never been in a dental chair, let alone had their teeth cleaned or attended to! But boy, do they need it! Poor things, many have teeth in really bad shape, rotted or riddled with cavities! One would have never guessed what was behind the sweet, cheery smiles that so attract us to dedicate our time and efforts on their behalf!