We met Silvia Aquilini, president of the association Friends of Smile Onlus seated in Bentivoglio, Bologna.
The organization was built in 2007, but a previous idea of such a project was growing in the mind of their pioneer. Sauro, Barbara and Nevio were thinking about how they could exploit their experience and their abilities beyond the barriers of their dentist’s clinic.
Finally, Barbara had the chance to take contact with a person working in Africa that gave her the contact of two religious in Tanzania. They started to feel that their idea could develop in a shape. Full of enthusiasm and worrying about the unknown, they decided to go on the field and check the real needs of the area, before starting a big project.
Back in Italy, they decided to start a new association with the objective of undertaking several missions every two years in different areas of Tanzania. The aim was to build and start new dentist’s clinics to cure and preserve teeth, instead of extracting them, as it was the usual practice until that moment, practice that could cause infections, chewing and absorption problems.
The name, Friends of Smile, wants to underline their will to give back smile to the people.
Silvia met Friends of Smile Onlus thanks to her childhood friend, a dentist and one of the pioneer of the association. After a first mission in Tanzania, she decided to carry on the collaboration.
The realized projects of Friends of Smile Onlus are: the building of several dental clinics in different villages (Ifakara, Mahenge, Kisawasawa, Mchombe) and the realization of other actions, according with availability of means and time, as the recovery of school classrooms.
Every clinic is developed thanks to machinery and equipment sent from Italy. The association gives the necessary preparation to the local equip, explaining how the equipment works.
We asked for their future projects.
In 2015 Friends of Smile Onlus would like to start two new labs in Ruaha. The first one of those labs will be a dentist’s clinic, the second one will be an obstetrics’ clinic putting into practice the ability of a new team member.
In Italy, before the mission, the association organizes soiree, fundraising events and awareness campaigns to collect the equipment (purchased or donated) that is going to be sent in container on the field several month before their journey, to be ready when the team arrives.
Xlestrade asked for future collaboration and volunteering with Friends of Smile Onlus. If someone would like to start a new experience with them please take contact during their organizational meetings. An evaluation of the candidate will take place, allowing the participation to the mission.
The message is a poem from Euphrase Kezilahabi:
Africa and its people (Africa na watu wake)
I see that the infirm
is still on bed.
If we don’t take off the residual thorns
the infirm won’t put his feet on the floor
to walk without support.
The thorns that are inside us should
be taken off as well quickly before they go inside
in the bones and die with us.
After taking them off we don the iron shoes
and then we play the game of politic and economy.
But to take off the thorns
we need good eyes
hand that don’t tremble
a heart without compassion
and we need to see where the thorns are.
We thank Silvia and the team of Friends of Smile Onlus for their friendship! We want to go on in our project, as they do, with a smile as something more to bring with us!