It is hard to write a report about last year because 2014 was the “black year” were much was done from a distance but the communication and the contact became harder and harder as the deadly Ebola rampaged through the poor people of Sierra leone as well as Guinea and Liberia…. killing thousands and thousands of people….
You have asked me for a report or reflection about 2014, the work done and what has been going on…. well this is a huge task…. because much was done from a distance not on the ground as I usually do. However, first of all, thank you for raising awareness and money for the ambulances.
with Dr Smith about where you want the money to go. Teethsavers have an account in SL. You could put the money raised in that account or keep it in your main account in Lubbock. However, please make a record, I did not use this money to finance my mission to send, or buy the ambulances…. nor did I ever receive any money. This is simply to clarify that all I do is transparent and should never need to be questioned. Dr Smith knows this very well, he has been deeply involved with SL, worked hard when in SL and knows the situation very well… and painfully so… should I add…
The ambulances arrived in Freetown beginning of January this year and are now on the roads picking up the suspected cases, the confirmed cases and sadly the dead cases…. there are 6 of them, the one that is not being contaminated is the one that I have secured for the Oral Health Department….. for Teethsavers as well as SWF. Please see below a clip broadcasted by the BBC. The one with the SWF logo is not picking up dead bodies or suspected victims…. it is devoted to find them,detect them and direct them to the nearest NERC (National Ebola Response Centres )
Ok let’s try and start from the beginning, I was last in SL in March 2014, I was there with the Public Health of England, I coordinated and pleaded them to come with me to help the people of SL set up a Public Health…. yes… please believe me, as hard as it is…. they do not have a Public health system in place, please visit my Face Book page
On this page you will find more information about recent activities…. though I have to admit to you I have not been as active as I should have been on posting or updating because of serious personal issues that I will not bore you with, but my life is not easy … let’s put it this way….
Following my visit to SL in March 2014 ….. the tragedy struck…. Ebola, as predicted, entered the country of SL, and with an already failing National health system or…… non existing … people fell to the disease like an atomic bomb that had just exploded…. because this disease is a silent one…. it’s a clever virus, hidden, mysterious ….and mimicking many other diseases experienced every day…. such as malaria, typhoid, flu, cholera…. the list goes on…. the incubation is between 2 days and 21… meaning it is a mean nasty and clever virus…. it has put SL back at least another 10 years. The schools were closed and still are and I had to come up with a solution to keep our team in SL going, as no bodily contact was allowed….. now what do we do? Our job involves bodily contact, sweat, blood and tears….these children have never seen a toothbrush let alone a dentist….. For your information … did you know that there are 4 dentists for over 6.5 million people in SL? And to make the statistics worse three are private…. meaning nobody can afford them and even the private dentists kill people….rather than cure them…. if you want more information on this topic I will expand on it on another email 🙂
So the mission was to “shift the operation” yet to protect them but on the same token, serve our goals…. be this oral health or general health and save lives…. For this reason I came to Lubbock and had a meeting with the Teetsavers board as well as visiting Jack….. but that is yet another story that I will leave others to talk to you about.
In March I also rented a compound (secured housing) for us all, so we could go there without having to resort to expensive accommodations or to ask for favours… though I have loving people that are more than willing to help…. however we all know ….we can only ask for so much and for so long…. so I rented a place for us as I saw SL teethsavers/SWF grow and wanted us to “belong” without the need to beg. This again I did with my own money. Unlike Teethsavers I have no donors, I work hard and I put my own money into everything I do in SL.
I called upon Kings College of London and they , (the 6 teethsavers plus my driver Brown) have undergone 2 cross infection control trainings…
Basically, I shifted the operation from ART to help saving their Nation…. suddenly teeth become much less important than children’s and adults lives, they were provided with protective suits so that they could go out to communities and villages and screen, educate and detect cases….their lives have (and still are ) been at risk …. but I proudly say that it was their choice to do this…..when many Sierra Leonians instead … fled the country..
So ….. I am truly sad to report that this poor country already plagued, and historically touched by the civil war had to endure yet another “tragedy”…..
From my end I invested more than I have , I have put them through training, I have paid for medications and I have bought and sent out 6 ambulances.
The one that I have kept for us SWF/Teethsavers, is now being used by the team, they have also been doing oral health education as well as teaching cross infection control and identifying victims of the deadly Ebola…. months ago my containers (almost 9 tons of toothbrushes, medication, rice and donations in forms of clothes as well as medical equipment, dental instruments and a portable dental unit and the list goes on) was finally released after being detained for over a year by the more than corrupt port authority. The team have been more than amazing and I have pained with them as I have and am, fearing for their lives …. but as well as doing their dangerous job of delivering cross infection control and educating the people…. they also give oral health instructions and are travelling with the ambulance to remote places and delivering toothbrushes and educating people…. but cannot touch them….. still … because of the Ebola virus…. the silent killer…. The Teethsavers are using materials that I have provided, from the container now released….
Again, please feel free to look at my website …. but it is unfinished and the links are not complete…. FB is a better way to get information from. I have asked Dr Smith to print out all monthly reports from last year and give them to you …. a picture tells a thousands words …. couldn’t be more true…. however, here you have the yearly, humble report from your stoic team in SL
Smiling World is made possible and supported by a network of wonderful, committed people who all share a common goal – and that is to make the world a better place. However, our mission will not be able to reach a single child if it wasn’t for the especially dedicated key figures of the foundation.
Dr Raffaella Gabassi – Founder
Principal dentist at White Dental & Cosmetic Rooms in Chiswick and mother of two young children, Raffaella is the founder of Smiling World. Having always been interested in missionary work, it has been a life-long goal of hers to set up her own charity. After visiting Sierra Leone to do some relief work, it became apparent to her that this less fortunate country would benefit from such an establishment. And so the Smiling World Foundation was born. Raffaella has now also been appointed as field director for Teethsavers, our sister organisation, also based in Sierra Leone.
H.E. Edward Turay
His Excellency Mr Edward Turay is the High Commissioner of Sierra Leone for the UK. He is a member of parliament from the Bombali District in Sierra Leone and he is also a qualified lawyer. Mr Turay is a strong supporter of the charity, bridging our connection with the relevant government authorities in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone is one of the countries most in need of volunteers. If you are a dental professional and are interested in visiting, please contact us.
ALL of your donations go directly towards the children. We take no administration costs. Please donate now and make a real difference to their lives.
We are a child-centered organisation.
We travel all across Sierra Leone, reaching schools, orphanages and communities treating oral disease, paying particular attention to those in isolated parts of the country.
We work with other organizations and their communities, upholding children’s rights to:
survive – by treating crippling and life-threatening oral disease,
develop – through a better quality of life and education, and,
participate in family and cultural life
Our Achievements So Far
— Over 5000 children and adults have been treated and even more have been screened.
3500 toothbrushes donated.
— 4000 painkillers and 1700 antibiotics given out, stopping would-be dental disease from progressing.
— We have saved three children’s lives by financially supporting them to have major operations until their are recuperated enough to go home.
About Raffaella Gabassi
Smiling World was founded by Raffaella Gabassi in 2012 as one of the very few charitable organisations established to promote oral health trough education. We work across the country of Sierra Leone, reaching remote villages, treating and educating children in destitute situations and give them hope and understanding.