Into TGL: Afra & Naomi’s Mission in Cambodia

November 28, 2016

Naviin Prabhu

Our medical outreach program in Samrong, Cambodia was inducted to educate the rural populace on basic hygiene, oral health and more. Afra and Naomi, both from the Netherlands, flew in to take up the challenge of educating the children in public schools on the importance of washing hands and brushing teeth.

Naomi exclaims that the first day was a bit over whelming to face a class of almost 60 kids and to teach them how to wash their hands and brush their teeth. But when they noticed that most of them had bleeding gums and cavities owing to poor dental hygiene, their mission was clear.

Together they’ve visited around fifteen public schools, reaching out to over 2000 children, giving them toothbrushes, paste and soap, teaching how to wash hands and on how to brush. Needless to say, they don’t speak Khmer and got the local assistance from Mr Da, who works as an English teacher in Samrong, to translate the instructions to Khmer and travelled with them for the entire duration of the program.

A typical day at the medical outreach program would involve packing up the adequate number of toothbrushes, soaps, info-graphs and of course the enthusiasm to make a difference. Then taking a ride to the planned school, maybe a scooter or a car or a bicycle depending on how far one has to go for the day, nevertheless how it is, kids waving hello, and the wide smile of people on looking at someone “alien” is sure to set a good mood for the day.

Then follows a routine of visiting every class, where 10 kids would turn up when you need 5, explaining the curious kids with signs and instructions on how to brush and wash hands and giving them a set of brush, paste and soap to take home.

When they had time to spare, we had them visiting Greenway school, one of our biggest projects in Cambodia, to give insights on how and how not to treat wounds. With notorious kids around, it’s a common sight to see bruised knees and elbows.

It is also noteworthy to mention that Naomi fundraised enough money (she doesn’t tell me how much ☹ ) to buy 3000 toothbrushes, 1000 tooth pastes, 500 soaps and enough left to construct a toilet, which is now being erected at the Donken Phneat Promary School (more on this when it is complete).

Medical outreach, along with our Hospital program, has been one of our ambitions program to tackle hygiene related health issues in a place with almost no adequate medical facilities to treat the ailing. We are certain that, with more enthusiastic participants like Afra and Naomi, we will be able to spread more awareness on hygiene and contribute to a healthier lifestyle of the people.

Naviin Prabhu

Engineer on a break, photographer by heart and still clueless on what to do with life at 26. Avid traveler with a ton of misadventures to talk about.

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