CRANBERRY X GLOBAL DENTAL RELIEF
Rada-Mayya recently graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology and wants to specialize in public health. Her goal is to work with communities who cannot afford the basic right to oral health care. Growing up in Bulgaria, she witnessed first-hand the need for affordable and accessible dental care overseas.
“My father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of periodontitis, which required an expensive treatment impossible for a family like mine to afford. Without the treatment, he would eventually lose his teeth. My father’s experience determined what kind of career I wanted. I would become a dentist and reduce health-care disparities by providing high-quality dental care as right, not a privilege.”
- Rada-Mayya Kostadinova
I completed the Global Dental Relief Dental Project in Kathmandu, Nepal for the duration of two weeks. I can happily say those few weeks were time well spent, the capital city of Kathmandu was endlessly fascinating and the culture embraced me as soon as I arrived. The Chechen Guest House was my home for those two weeks located at a walking distance from our dental clinic. The team leaders and the rest of the team were wonderful and within a few days I felt comfortable and settled in my surroundings. I met fellow volunteers from around the world and I learned from them as much as from the locals. Global Dental Relief organization did an amazing job balancing time in clinic with opportunities to explore the Nepali culture. I visited the Boudhnath Stupa and the commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu- Thamel as well as enjoy meals at terrific restaurants.
Our temporary clinic was set up at a boarding school founded by a Tibetan lama to provide free education for children from extremely poor and remote villages where there are no schools. I spent six days at the clinic observing and assisting dentists providing oral care to the underserved community. One of the main highlights of the trip was the help we receive from the Nepali teenage assistants from orphanages and charity schools. With their assistance we were able to treat about 120 patients from the Kathmandu valley a day and more importantly treat everyone effectively despite the cultural and language barriers. The trip leaders did a great job making sure everyone is comfortable in their roles, and will often rotate people if they want to try different stations (e.g. fluoride, records, dental assisting).
This trip changed my life. For one, I learned that by helping others in need, I feel that my life has a true meaning. I have learned that dentistry will allow me to combine my scientific and technical expertise with my desire to treat the underserved, while constantly being challenged to improve myself professionally and personally. By learning about other people and the way they work, I also learned about myself. I gained vital people skills and learned how to communicate with those outside my normal circles. When you’re on the ground volunteering, you become fully immersed into a new culture. I realized that people from all over the world are the same, and that other people, other races and other voices all have integrity, and all have the same claim to the world that I do. Without a doubt, I returned home with a more open mind, and with a new appreciation of cultural diversity.
I would like to thank the Cranberry Scholarship donors for their generous support making it possible to join a charity dental clinic and experience dentistry in of the best ways. I am honored to be one of the recipients of the Global Dental Relief 2017 Cranberry Scholarship. Growing up in a less privileged community has offered me financial challenges and this trip would not have been possible without the support from scholarship sponsors like your organization. . I am committed to my education and to the oral health care field, and one step closer to becoming a dentist. Thank you for enabling this opportunity.
By Rada-Mayya Kostadinova 2017