Cambodian Assistance and Cultural Preservation Project Inc.
In the past we have noticed that many of the children have teeth that are missing, or decayed to the gum line and infected. While they donít eat sweets or junk food, they are generally malnourished and do eat a lot of rice which is a refined carbohydrate. We have distributed tooth brushes and floss and tried to educate children about dental hygiene.
During this visit we learned of a young dentist in Bakheng Village who had been trained in Japan and did good work at very reasonable prices. We chose six children ranging in age from 7 to 19 years old, who had serious dental problems, and sent them to the dentist. The result; a total of 59 teeth that were extracted and/or root canalled and restored with crowns and bridges. Some had to have infections treated before the work could be done. The grand total, 550 dollars!
Before the dental work, the girl in this picture had all 4 or 5 of her upper front teeth decayed to the gum line. One of our projects for this year is to raise enough money to have more childrenís teeth fixed and provide them with toothbrushes, floss, fluoride toothpaste and dental hygiene instruction.
Dental Hygiene Dilemma!
Another issue that was brought to our attention by a school principal is that a shortage or total lack of working toilets is keeping some students, especially girls, out of school. Most schools in rural areas have no toilets at all. This makes it very difficult for female students, especially as they get older. By fifth or sixth grade girls are very uncomfortable going to the bushes and many refuse to drink any water during the school day or to go to school at all. According to a 2004 socioeconomic survey done by the National Institute of Statistics, the ratio of girls to boys in lower secondary schools in Cambodia is 77 to 100, and in upper secondary schools 59 to 100.
Lack of toilets discourages girls from attending school.
Lack of toilets is just one of many factors discouraging girls from attending school, but it is also one of the easiest problems to fix. We will be trying to raise money to repair or build new toilet facilities for schools in the villages in which we work.
The picture on the right is of the only toilets for the Bakheng elementary school, which are in disrepair and presently not working. This school serves about 300 students in split sessions.