Fulfilling the Great Commission by raising Christ-centred disciples to plant vibrant, biblical churches in our cities and countries all over the world

VIETNAM DENTAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS

On the 28th of February 2015, a team of four persons, three from Australia and one from Germany (now living in Malaysia), embarked on a journey to Vietnam to provide an oral health education program to school kids aged between 6 and 11. When we arrived, we met with Peter and Ruth Truong, our local contacts in Vietnam and they quickly took us to our first Vietnamese meal. Over lunch, we learnt that the plans for the week were not concrete and we were still waiting for final approvals from the local governments before we could carry out the program in schools during the week. Initially, we were praying and hoping to be able to teach approximately 2,000 kids over a four-day period, from Monday to Thursday. We soon found out we were only given approval for one day, in the Tay Ninh province! 

 

Training local churches about dental education 

On Monday, we went to Can Gio island. Unfortunately, we weren’t given approval to provide the education program to the local school there. Instead, we taught the members of a local church the oral health education program and how to teach the kids. This was particularly rewarding as we witnessed one member practising it in front of the others. It really felt like we could transform the nation’s oral care.

Making 2,800 packs for school children 

Wednesday came around quickly and we got up early to travel to Tay Ninh (2 hours’ drive from Ho Chi Minh). The delivery trucks arrived with all the water, cups, vitamin C tablets, milk, toothpaste and toothbrushes. With the face towels close behind, a few members of a local church, the 4 of us, Peter and Ruth, as well as our 4 interpreters started packing 1,400 practice packs, and 1,400 gift packs. We packed 2,800 packs in just over 3 hours. We were a mean packing machine!
We set out for our first local school on early Thursday morning. We met the principal of the school as well as various government officials. We were also informed that a few plain clothes policemen would also be observing what we did as we went around to the various schools.

Teaching 1350 kids in 3 schools 

The kids filed in to the open area in front of the school, excitedly looking at the “foreigners” who had come. Each lined up in form, four sections each with 80-100 kids. We took one section each and began by letting them know that our friends from all over the world wanted to bless them and that we believe in a God who blesses them with good gifts. We then taught them theory touching on diet, frequency of brushing and how to brush. Then it was onto the practical. All of us quickly realised that these kids don’t even know how to hold their toothbrushes, let alone the “circular motion” when you brush. Hand on hand practice was required with the kids, so we guided each child along the line. Finally, we left the kids with one thing to remember. “God loves you” / Chúa Yêu Em. Even though our language may have been flawed, our message was simple: Look after your teeth, and God loves you.

The team made it to 3 schools that day, and we were able to give packs to approximately 1,350 children. Each child went home with 2 dental packs and the message that God loves them. The team filled with fatigue but left in awe of the day we just had.

AUD5.00 to change a nation. 

On further calculation and reflection, it costs AUD5.00 to give 1 child the education, the gift, and the message that God loved them. Your donation and support went beyond showing a child how to brush teeth. But prayerfully, it is one step closer to changing a nation.
The team is immensely grateful for the support you gave! The success of the program would not have been possible without your support. Hopefully, this program can continue on an annual basis. If you are interested in supporting further projects, or even coming along to the next trip, do contact us!

For more information about upcoming Vietnam Dental Education Trip 

Contact: May Burrell (Oceania Missions Coordinator) 

Email: [email protected]

Written by Jien Mae Tan, Hope Church Brisbane