Specialist Dental Group is pleased to publish a guest post from Moonlake Lee, Director of Business Affairs at our clinic.
When a group of friends had an idea to combine a family holiday with a charitable purpose, I was one of the first to jump onboard. What a brilliant idea – it was a wonderful way to expose our two girls, aged 9 and 10, to a different culture and give something back to a community in need.
We had identified the Yeang Primary School in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to be the beneficiary of our efforts to be of service. There were 14 adults and 14 kids in our group and we subdivided them into 3 teams: a team to teach English, a team to help build a sheltered kitchen, and a dental education team.
As Dr Ansgar Cheng (my other half), and I were in the dental industry, naturally, it fell to us to spearhead the dental education portion of the project. Thanks to the generosity of Lion Corporation which donated over 500 boxes of strawberry flavoured Kodomo toothpaste for the project, and the toothbrushes that were purchased in Cambodia, all the children at the Yeang Primary School that day were able to have a dental care kit. We also had some to spare for the children at a nearby village.
Our little team of adults and little helpers went from classroom to classroom with our affable Cambodian interpreter, to share the simple message of the importance of keeping your teeth clean and healthy. We also demonstrated tooth brushing techniques.
During the lunch break, we experienced a lesson in gratitude. Heavy rain descended on the school compound and the pupils of all ages took the opportunity to use the rain water from the sky to rinse their lunch plates before food was served. Some also grabbed the chance to play in the puddles.
The children from Singapore served the Cambodian children their lunch – a simple meal of rice, lots of vegetables and a little meat. As a special treat, we had also arranged for ice cream to be delivered to the school for dessert.
The heavy work of moving a truckload of bricks for building the kitchen was completed speedily when all the children trooped to the truck and carried the bricks in a steady procession to the site of the new kitchen. It was very encouraging to see the unity of purpose in the children, both Singaporeans and Cambodians.
To ensure that trip to the Yeang Primary School was not merely a short lived day trip, our group of friends also raised funds to help build water storage tanks for the school, a proper kitchen and a pond for water usage.
The conclusion of our little girls at the end of their Cambodian trip was that the experience made them realize how lucky and blessed they were. We couldn’t ask for anything more. .. and we are looking forward to our next charity trip with them !
For photos of the trip, check out the Specialist Dental Group Facebook Album.