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Photo: Young boy in Timor-Leste. Supplied.

Putting smiles on faces in Timor-Leste

Glebe Road Uniting Church, Ipswich has fostered a partnership with Ekaristi Church in Dili, Timor-Leste for the past nine years. Ekaristi church operates Marcelo 2 Eskola, a kindergarten and elementary school on the church grounds and Glebe Road members have raised funds to assist in the building of extra classrooms at the school.

A visit to Timor-Leste in 2016 coincided with a visit to Dili by the Timor Children’s Foundation dental team led by The Gap Uniting Church member Dr Malcolm Campbell. Malcolm teamed up with Glebe Road dentist Dr John Fisher to treat the 653 students at the Foundation-supported orphanage in Dili.

Both dentists were distressed by the discovery of children in pain and in need of dental care.

The next year, Glebe Road teamed up with the Timor Children’s Foundation to send three dentists and a team to Marcelo 2 Eskola, treating 116 patients. The team also travelled to the Fusona UnitingWorld clinic at Lospalos where they completed 122 dental procedures.

With only 10 dentists for a population of 1.25 million people, there’s a huge need, so this May two teams are travelling to Timor-Leste. Dr Malcolm Campbell is leading a team of seven volunteers including three dentists to Lospalos, where they will meet up with another team of three dentists and five assistant volunteers led by Dr John Fisher, arriving in Dili in June to treat the children at Marcelo 2 Eskola.

All volunteers pay their own expenses, including travel and accommodation. Treatment is provided free of charge and all equipment and supplies are purchased with donated funds.

The Timor Children’s Foundation fundraising for the dental project will be highlighted at a luncheon on 12 May at 12 noon at Indooroopilly Uniting Church, Brisbane. Tickets are available at the door for $25. Find out more at timorchildren.com

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