Feb 21 2012

Dental care often part of sponsorship benefits

Harrison Garcia Ruiz, CFCA communication center liaison in Bogota, Colombia, contributed information to this report.

Going to the dentist can be something we take for granted in the United States, but it’s not always so easy in other countries.

John, CFCA sponsored child in Colombia, at a dental checkup

John, a sponsored child in Colombia, gets his teeth cleaned during a dentist's visit to communities in the CFCA Bogota project.

For families living in remote areas, traveling to town to see the dentist can take several hours, even if you have a car. Many children walk through the mountains to get to school, let alone the dentist.

And for families struggling with poverty, paying for dental care is another matter entirely.

CFCA sponsorship benefits often include periodic dental checkups and treatment. An example is our project in Bogota, Colombia.

Right now Ginna Gomez, a dentist, is visiting almost 1,000 CFCA sponsored children in the Bogota project in an extensive 16-week process.

She sees and treats 60 children a week and will finish sometime in June.

“It is a beautiful process because the children get excited when we start their treatment and they also get excited seeing us at the (CFCA office) and near their houses,” she said. “They like to receive this benefit.”

One story Ginna has to tell is about a young sponsored child who fell when she was small and lost four of her teeth.

John, CFCA sponsored child, his mother, cousin and nephew in Colombia

John, second from right, along with his mother, nephew and cousin.

Although she didn’t have the financial resources to pay for an operation, sponsorship benefits helped her family afford treatment.

“CFCA helped her to get her treatment to have a beautiful smile, and CFCA paid for her treatment,” Ginna said. “She got her four new teeth.”

Treating the children takes a lot of hard work. Ginna has to travel more than 93 miles (150 kilometers) to visit all the communities served by the CFCA project.

“The transportation is very difficult because it is a faraway place in a rural area, and the buses pass there every 40 minutes,” she said.

Along with treatment, sponsored children in the rural areas receive a thorough education on dental hygiene.

“We have to brush our teeth well three times every day. We also must brush our tongue,” said John, a 10-year-old child sponsored through CFCA.

“I like to attend the dental checkups to have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.”

Jenny, CFCA sponsored youth learning more about dental hygiene

Jenny, CFCA sponsored youth learning more about dental hygiene.

Jenny, a CFCA sponsored youth and scholarship student, said the dental service was very good.

“I am so thankful for the dental checkup because it is a great benefit for me and all the other sponsored children because we can receive good dental attention near our houses as we live in the countryside,” she said. “The hospitals are far away from our houses.”

Gloria Romero, coordinator for CFCA in the community of Oasis, said this was the first time the dental service had been provided here.

“This community is located in a far place, and for that reason the children could not go to the CFCA office in Bogota to receive dental treatment,” she said. “For that reason the community is glad to have the dental attendance here because it is easier and near to their houses.”

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