Project smile, a complimentary smile makeover initiative of Smile 360 for Nigerian youths who have suffered lost opportunities and are stigmatised due to cases of flawed dentition, has given some of the youths the chance to correct these deformations. Smile 360, a foremost dental clinic in Lagos, is driving this effort through Project Smile.
The initiative is in its 7th session and Project Smile 7.0 kicked off on September 16, 2019 with a call to entries, which ran for eight weeks. During the period, 226 candidates each with a narrative of how costly dental flaw has deprived them of opportunities, entered for a chance to win the prize of a Smile Makeover in the bid to transform their dental configuration and realise the dream of a great smile.
And the winners were announced at the Special Appreciation Dinner and Project Smile Session 7 Awards presentation ceremony, which took place recently at the Grand Ball Room of Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos. Speaking on the motive behind the project, the Managing Director of Smile 360 Dental Clinic, Dr. Amy Traore-Shumbusho said the motive was to create a smile that would help people to look attractive, the smile that would make you confident.
“Smiling can reduce your blood pressure, smiling can increase your immune system, smiling increases your happiness. Imagine the power we have but why are we not smiling. “We are here today to talk about Project Smile. It began a few years ago when I realised how powerful a smile is and even more, there are people out there who don’t have a smile or don’t have a teeth to smile. Then I talked to myself, why would anyone not be able to smile, why would anyone not be able to live his/her life to fullness. So the project was conceptualised based on this observation. And I just saw it as an opportunity to give young adults, young Nigerians who cannot afford to pay my services an opportunity to smile and be themselves. This is our own way of giving back.”
Since the project started, over 20 Nigerians have been given a new lease of life. “It has not been easy,” said Dr. Traore-Shumbusho. “Initially, we started with one candidate and the dentistry treatment process took us two years. By the following year, we were able to sponsor three more with the help of corporate organisations. The following year four more people were selected for treatment through the help of people who contributed to their lives. Project smile is doing great and we can do more. We want you to witness the power of smile and how a simple smile can transform the life of someone. We have past candidates who have finished their treatment and have their lives transformed.”
She continued: “Today, we are celebrating the 7th edition of Project Smile. And in this edition, we have 226 applicants, which shows how the project has become popular. The process is transparent and simple. When we get a picture of an applicant with a story of how a makeover will transform their lives, the most touching story will be selected. From 226 applicants they were scaled down to 12. And from those 12, four applicants were selected and they are here today. We want you to join us in deciding who out of these four candidates deserve to win the big prize. So, we decided to pick two people.”
Corroborating Dr. Traore-Shumbusho, Director, Project Smile, Dr. Apara said: “Smile can indeed transform a life, when you hear a story such as l have lost my self-esteem, I can’t get married just because I can’t smile.
So this project is a one that helps increase one’s smile. This is our seventh session. So far we have had over 500 people that have applied. Because it is a new project we are taking it gradually as we try to grow the lives of people, try to empower people by giving the power of smile back to them.”
Among the four candidates, Henry Ijeoma emerged the winner, the first runner-up was Sesan Dales. Though Tomilola Bada and Opeyemi Fasuyi didn’t win, but they were lucky as they were both adopted for treatment by anonymous individuals.
Sharon, a past beneficiary whose dream of becoming a model was nearly shattered, gave kudos to Dr. Amy and her team for restoring her dreams. “I didn’t know that my smile was bad until I stumbled on Project Smile Session 4. The experience has been awesome. I thank you for changing my life.” Surulere crooner, Dr. Sid, spiced up the night of glitz and glamour with his musical performances.