A West London dental practice principal and her manager opted for an unusual Christmas break – doing voluntary work with children in a remote village in Rajasthan, India.
Sunita and Kavita Verma, from Sparkle Dental Boutique in Hanwell, west London, are more used to dealing with the aesthetics of their patients’ teeth than those of a rundown school, but they were happy to roll up their sleeves and join other volunteers in giving a lick of paint to the classrooms at the school in Lalsott, a remote village in Jaipur.
‘Our accommodation was huts made from cow dung and a few unexpected guests including bats, rats, mosquitoes and field mice!’ explained Sunita.
‘Electricity was intermittent, a shower involved cold bucket baths… we certainly missed our home comforts… but with great spirit amongst the volunteers and camp staff we spent many a night around the camp fire under a star-lit sky.
‘Having won Most Attractive Practice at the Private Dentistry Awards, it was great to have been able to leave a touch of sparkle in Lalsott whilst improving the aesthetics of the classrooms for the children and teachers,’ she added.
Now back at her practice in west London, she said: ‘For me, the trip reinforced the importance of education and how fortunate I was to be in the position that I am in due to the education that I had received.
‘As a result, I have now completed training with Voluntary Reading Help, a national UK-based charity and will be spending one afternoon each week going into my local school and reading with three disadvantaged children for a year.’