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In December 2013 I joined the Smilestar team and travelled to Tanzania. It was the first time a group ever went to Tanzania before, but travelling with a couple people including Mitesh who knew the ropes and had all the contacts meant we settled in straight away.

Our hosts, the Foxes were so welcoming and had spread the word that a dental team was coming to take out teeth in our clinic. Word soon spread that we were doing teeth extractions which were pain free and we had queues of local people wanting our help. It was an incredible experience which I will never forget. To be able to offer free basic help to over 250 patients was quite an achievement for our small team. We saw over 250 patients taking out approximately 500 teeth and most of those have had pain for a long time.

I did fund-raising to raise the money for my trip and many of our patients contributed. It felt fantastic that my patients wanted to send me there and then hear about my experiences when I returned. I would recommend anyone to try this experience as it’s made me appreciate what I have and also helping others who are less fortunate. Get in touch if you would like to talk about accompanying Smile star on one of the next trips.

Leila Matthews

Senior Dental Nurse @ Plymouth Dental Centre of Excellence