On Wednesday May 11th, The St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and Great Shape! Inc, met with the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley to present their newest initiative: 1,000 Smiles SXM. This pilot project aims to provide free dental service to at least 1,000 persons who have limited resources to provide for themselves.
Great Shape! Inc has grown to become a recognized volunteer based nonprofit organization, that matches skills and talents with communities in need. The organization's growth led to the 2003 launch of its 1000 Smiles Project, the world's largest, international, humanitarian, dental project. Building upon its initial commitment to the Caribbean.
During a presentation to Minister Ottley, Great Shape! Inc explained the procedures and expressed great interest in assisting the people of St. Maarten. The foundation also enlightened the Minister about the various Caribbean islands they have worked with and continue to fulfill yearly commitments to these islands.
Minister Ottley expressed his willingness to work along with the two foundations and committed himself to the realization of this project.
As an organization deeply rooted in St. Maarten, SMDF is aware that dental care comes at a cost and that there is minimal or no financial support from local organizations to assist with meeting the dental care needs on the island.
Together, with the Ministry of VSA and SMDF, Great Shape! Inc aims to bring certified dental professionals to St. Maarten, to provide free services for a two-to-three week period, starting in the 2nd quarter of 2023.
“I would like to thank SMDF and Great Shape! Inc for this great initiative. It definitely has the support of the Ministry. Too often oral health is overlooked or cannot be afforded. Dental care is something that SZV and I are currently in discussions about, as we are looking into how we can cover our population for dental care or even a percentage of it.” Said Minister Ottley.