Smiles For The Pacific Charity
In 2014 Dr Jonathan Cole and some dental colleagues, including his dental assistant Margot Distelzwey, established a charity to set up and run a volunteer dental clinic within the confines of Lautoka Hospital, Fiji.
The concept was to add value for the people of Fiji by offering free treatment and training. Since its inception a large number of Australasian dentists, specialists and therapists have volunteered their time, helping with a very heavy workload, but more importantly making a knowledge donation by running workshops, lectures and one on one mentoring.
We have extended our reach with donations of second hand dental equipment into much needed areas of north western Fiji, a region largely forgotten due to its distance from the capital, Suva. In doing so we have the opportunity to train their biomedical colleagues to install and maintain this equipment. Exchanges have also occurred, with specialists visiting Fiji and sponsored trips for further training of Fijian colleagues back to NZ, helped by the Newton Wickham Auckland Association Trust.
After five years we are continually amazed at the reach of our tentacles adding value to their system. As usual the 'Kiwi number 8 wire' mentality reins supreme and we overcome most hurdles with ingenuity.
We hope you enjoy this gallery of photographs depicting our journey thus far.
DR JONATHAN COLE
Chair ,'Smiles For The Pacific', October 2017