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Ethiopia, in Sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the world’s poorest countries – ranks 174th out of 187 countries on the UN’s human development index. Gondar is one of Ethiopia’s poorest cities. There are under 100 dentists in Ethiopia – that’s one dentist for every million Ethiopians. In 1990, 45% of children had caries.

Together with local organizations, Project TEN cares for vulnerable children in schools and orphanages by providing education,  water and sanitation, deworming, health awareness, leadership and agricultural trainings and more. The TEN Smile -Gondar Pilot focuses on preventive measures to complement Project TEN’s other health, hygiene and educational efforts. Project TEN operates multiple sites in vulnerable communities throughout the world, promoting sustainable development, social justice and leadership. Run by The Jewish Agency For Israel, Project TEN offers young adult Jewish volunteers the opportunity to volunteer for 3 months at a site that has a permanent Project TEN centre.

Chechela Elementary School

Training and Preparation

Oral Health Education

FIRST TIME tooth brushing

Nutritional Intervention

Ethiopian Blind Association

The immense satisfaction from improving lives of underprivileged people, is always bundled with the hard realization that it’s not enough – your effort is but a drop in the ocean of unmet needs. Like today’s experience. A feasibility visit to a government-sponsored dwelling for the blind in Gondar, Ethiopia. Mud huts, no bathrooms, tough living conditions for people with life stories that are very difficult to hear. I joined a team of young adult volunteers from Project TEN who help the blind Amhari children every day after school with their homework and other activities. I watched as the children’s faces lit up just from the fact that the volunteers care enough to hike all the way to spend time with them. They were very excited to meet a dentist for the first time and to hear that they will be getting their first ever toothbrush and toothpaste. After the mood calmed, a child named Indark held my hand for a long silent moment, and then asked: “Doctor, can you treat eyes too?”. I could barely get the words out: “Indark, I’m sorry, I only know teeth”.