It’s a typical story on the international volunteer circuit: dentist X volunteers in country Y for 2 weeks, extracts 700 teeth, places an equal number of sealants, has a memorable cultural experience and leaves feeling satisfied. Yet local people are left once again with raised expectations and few resources with which to fulfill them…

Murray Dickson and Geraldine Dickson, 2005

There can be much debate about the rights and wrongs of volunteer based programs. On a very simple and simplified level if we consider “volunteering” to be working – but without financial reward – then voluntary activities require the same level of consideration, ethics, planning, implementation and evaluation as any other sustained program.

There are many avenues to dental volunteering both in Australia and internationally. By seeking out those organisations that act responsibly and work in strong partnership with local agencies and governments, dental volunteers can provide an investment into local communities through skills transfer, offering support and most of all, respecting local conditions.

The past 5-10 years have seen an enormous growth in volunteer based projects.  Most are genuine, though some can be a business disguised as a “charity” or NGO type program. Potential volunteers would be wise to investigate carefully any project they might be interested in, and if possible, contact others who have already worked on particular projects.

The Australian Dental Association had produced a checklist for those wishing to find out more about volunteering, and appropriate organisations.

There is some information in Links about established volunteer programs, and Resources for useful articles.

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Soo nice to have the doors gliding easily again.
what a difference a frame makes. 
@avbconstruct expertly adjusting existing door frames.
Fading eastern light over western NSW plains on re-entry to Sydney.  Tough visit to Nepal this time. Struggling economy, massive inflation, increasing suicide rates, fewer and fewer jobs. Small wonder the drain of young people coursing out of the country, mainly aged 18-30 years, continues to grow. On average 3-4000 per day.  Villages are emptying. Schools are closing due to falling numbers of students.  Families are breaking up, leaving the parents to grow into either a lonely retirement in Nepal or face moving to another country where they are with their kids and grandkids but without their daily neighbours and local community.  It’s great to see so many beautiful Nepalese working and helping in Australia and other countries, and seeking opportunities they can’t find in their home country but the social, structural and political fracturing back in Nepal is deepening. The next few years will be very interesting.  Namaste!!🙏🏽 🙏🏽
Golden. @floyd_thegolden