A new charity has been developed due to a chance experience in Burma. Sharon Bierer and her husband Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen were holidaying in Burma, in March 2012 and this is where their inspiration first came into play. Sharon Bierer and dentist Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen are both dental professionals who own their own successful dental practice in London.
Sharon and Henrik visited Inle Lake in Burma and this is where they spent time at the Mein Thauk orphanage. Henrik was given the chance to carry out dental assessments on some of the children in the orphanage. The dentistry pair were shocked by the levels of caries and decay they found in the mouths of the orphaned children. The couple were so overwhelmed by what they witnessed that they immediately organised a return trip in the following November in aid to carry out dental treatment on the suffering orphans.
On the return trip Sharon and Henrik were joined by their head nurse Zar Ni and his wife May Myat San, as well as trained dental nurse and support manager of Software of Excellence Lesley Naismith. The dynamic and passionate team were sponsored by Software of Excellence and Henry Schein. The sheer support they received and the successful treatment they completed in the orphanage motivated them to want to create and establish the new UK charity which they named ‘Burmadent’. It has been described as, ‘dentistry in the raw and rewarding, beyond your wildest imagination.’
Sharon expressed, ‘Making a trip like this happen requires commitment and resources and, whilst we had plenty of the former, we needed the support of a dental company to provide the latter.’ Sharon and Henrik showed immense appreciation to Henry Schein and to Software of Excellence. Sharon described that ‘their confidence and unquestioning support, as well as the tangible materials and equipment they provided’ all made their Burma mission possible.
Following the trip the mission was to launch Burmadent. The active dentistry team began spreading the word about Burmadent. Burmadent aims to encourage dental communities and professionals to take their skills to Burma, where aid is unlimited. They have described the country as ‘fascinating’ and life changing ‘to work with charming but desperately poor people, and make a huge difference.’
To the elation of the Burma mission group, Burmadent has recently been granted charitable status. This was given by the Charities Commission in double quick time. This was due to documented evidence of the voluntary work Burmadent had already carried out.