Austin, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2012 -- Dr. Tejas Patel is a Austin Cosmetic Dentist with Dental Offices in Downtown Austin, Tx and Lakeway, Tx. Dr. Patel was able to combine several of his passions into one trip: Dentistry, Giving Back, and Travel.
Dr. Patel recently completed a dental volunteer trip to Africa in August 2012. Dr. Patel visited Tswalu Kalahari in Southern Africa and Livingstone Town in Zambia.
The Tswalu Foundation was created by Jonathan Oppenheim. The mission of this foundation is to develop a platform on which local and international visitors can contribute and involve themselves in the community. The Tswalu Foundation is a registered non-profit organization that supports ecological, environmental and species research in the Kalahari system and also provides grants for the development of social and community projects.
Dr. Patel volunteered at the Tswalu Dental Clinic. The dental clinic provides important dental healthcare and education. Along with the Dental Clinic, there is a Medical and Eye clinic, all of which helps to provide healthcare and education to the people in this remote part of the country. The clinic contracts medical and dental professionals who are willing to volunteer, treat patients, and share their expertise. Dr. Patel was also able to donate over 150 toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss with the help of Carey Barrs of Benco Dental Supplies. They were also able to donate much needed dental supplies and equipment to the dental clinic. Doctor Patel volunteered his time to help treat many individuals while staying at Tswalu. In the Tswalu village there is also a school for children. Dr. Patel was able to help educate and treat many of the school children on their oral health. At the school, Dr. Patel and his family were able to donate school supplies to the young children and teachers.
During this same trip to Africa Dr. Dr. Patel also visit visited Zambia, Africa. In Zambia, he had the opportunity to visit the Nakatindi village and community school. The Nakatindi village is located outside of Livingstone town. It is supported through the efforts of Sanctuary Retreats and their philanthropy projects.
Sanctuary Retreats works with the rural communities in which they operate. Their goal is to help these communities improve their general well- being through empowerment, improve infrastructures, skill development and the overall enhancement of health, education and welfare for their future. One of their biggest projects is helping the Nakatindi Villiage.
The total population of the Nakatindi village is estimated at 3000 people and the average household earns the equivalent of about up to US $80 per month. Almost 2/3 of the 500 children who live in this village are orphaned and are considered vulnerable. They are therefore dependent on the one meal a day provided by the school. Also, over 75% of the people and children who live in this village are affected by HIV.
There have been various community projects over the years to help improve the conditions in the Village. Some of the projects are: a vegetable garden to improve sustainability and commerce, a hammer mill shelter to improve the processing of the maize and corn that they eat for sustainability and commerce as well. There is also a Feeding program to help fund lunch for the children at the school and also water well to improve access to water. In the future, the village hopes to build a medical clinic to help improve access to healthcare.
Dr. Patel and his family were able to donate funds towards improvement of the Nakatindi Village and community school. Dr. Patel has traveled quite a bit and has completed many volunteer dental trips internationally. He said, “Visiting this village was an extremely profound experience. It was a mix of sorrow and happiness. The happiness came from seeing the smiles and enthusiasm and excitement of all of the children within the community. They were so joyful and content, even though they have so little and even with the alarming conditions that they live in. The sorrow comes from knowing that they are not only orphaned, and barely get one meal a day, but also that many of them are affected by HIV and that don't have access to healthcare or medicines that could improve their health”. Dr. Patel also shares,” I’m so grateful to have had such an experience for myself and for my family to be able to see how many others live on the other side of the world. It definitely reinforced the appreciation and gratitude for all that we are so fortunate to have. Seeing the world, the entire volunteer experience, and being able to give back to others is a truly rewarding experience”.
Dr. Patel hopes to return to Tswalu and Zambia in the future and to continue the work that he’s started and hopes to continue to help these communities.
Combining travel with volunteering as a dentist is one of Dr. Patel’s favorite things. He has now completed international dental volunteer trips to: Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, and Africa.
About Dr Patel
Dr Patel is a General and Cosmetic Dentist in Austin Texas and he also has offices in Lakeway Texas. He has been practicing dentistry for over ten years and has helped thousands of patients improve their smile. He is passionate about giving back and is active with charity projects including volunteer trips.
For more information visit http://www.lakewaysmiles.com/