Unspoken Smiles Foundation

Unspoken Smiles Foundation: Behind every single smile, there is an unspoken story.

New York, United StatesPort-au-Prince, Haiti
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

There are millions of children in the world of emerging developing countries who do not have access to dental care. Pain, infection and dysfunction are an unfortunate way of life due to the unintended consequences of not having access to adequate dental care and preventive measures.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Unspoken Smiles could ignite all children's smiles and help them lead a healthy lifestyle?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The two major problems we are addressing in Haiti post-earthquake; one is the dental healthcare of low-income children and the second is tryuing to end the shortage of dentists to meet the need of the underserved communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are creating access to dental care by connecting a team of dental professionals to provide relevant learning experiences that give elementary kids the skills, access, and beliefs they need to develop healthy oral habits for life. In addition, we want to equip unemployed Haitian youths with professional and technical skills in the dental field to start a job, build their future and give back to their communities.

Awards

The Resolution Project, The Clinton Global Initiative University, Dhiel Family Social Enterprise
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities according to WHO. WHO also states that Oral disease in children and adults is higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups, our current target HAITI particularly falls in this group due to the aftermath post-earthquake. Current statistics shows only .12 dentists per 10,000 people in Haiti. Oral health is a global silent epidemic that is killing mass population in undeserved region. Reports have mounting evidence that oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. Haiti not only suffers public health issue but also economic issue; 80% of the population still subsists below the poverty line with an unemployment rate of 40%.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We inspire nearly 2000 kids to date through our educational campaign. Our strategy aims to prove what works, and what can be replicated in the future, movement builds to transform oral health education and rethink the way we address oral health disparities in underserved communities. When all dental professionals play a role in educating children about proper oral hygiene, every child will decrease dental related diseases by taking charge of their own health. By securing partnerships with dental professionals and middle schools, we can see measurable short- and long-term impact not only on a child’s oral health — but also a dramatic change in their overall health.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our strategy moving forward is focusing on opportunity collaboration. We want to bring together public, private, and nonprofit organizations to identify opportunities to form strategic partnerships and pool resources for the implementation of innovative ideas to move together towards sustainable impact.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

In an effort to increase the robustness and reliability of its operations, the Foundation is now on track to sell toothbrushes to the American public on a “buy one, give one” basis. This proven model will help transform the goodwill of average Americans into a stable source of funding.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our organization is unique because we are addressing the root cause of dental diseases rather than focusing on treatment that often fail. The solution propose my most organizations is to have dental outreaches charity where volunteers can donate their time to do dentistry. While charity is laudable, we cannot volunteer our way out of this problem. Our commitment is highlighting the specific and neglected areas of public health and help raise awareness about the impact of oral diseases in the impoverished Communities.
Team

Founding Story

Tragedy struck Haiti in January 2010. A massive 7.0 earthquake devastated affected an estimated three million people, with a death toll of 100,000-160,000. In March 2011, Haiti native Jean Paul Laurent traveled back home to assist with a camp in Petion-Ville. There, Laurent noticed the children’s smiles despite the tragedy of the earthquake. These innocent smiles, deteriorated from the lack of proper dental care since the earthquake, yet unwilling to succumb to devastation, inspired Laurent to start Unspoken Smiles. He realized that behind every smile, an unspoken story is waiting to be told. Laurent is ready to replicate the program in different regions around the world.

Team

1. Jean Paul Laurent Founder and CEO 2. William Benson Chairman of Billionaires Row Champagne Board of Directors 3. Danni D. Benson Sales Manager at Billionaires Row Champagne Board of Directors 4. Danni Gomes Founder & Director of Creative Dental Connections Board of Directors 5. Talia Castro-Pozo Actress | Performer | Host | Dance Instructor | Choreographer | Producer Latin Mondays at TAj | Sunset Salsa & Dancing in Bryant Park| Board of Directors 6. Dr Edly Destine General and Cosmetic Dentist Board of Directors
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

I have met Mr Paul Polman at the Concordia Summit and that's how I find out about Unilever.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder & CEO/ Unspoken Smiles Foundation

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Leadership if used effectively is a critical component in influencing people. Although Unspoken Smiles was my very first entrepreneurial initiative, it has given me invaluable knowledge in effective leadership and ability to collaborate with different sector for a common good. A perfect example is our school-based educational program which involve connecting local dental professionals to primary schools and teach children how to maintain proper oral hygiene. Such exiting collaboration will not only bridge the oral health gap between dentists and the population, but also create long lasting bonds with the local children in their respective communities. This demanding job and unique opportunity thought me responsibility, work ethic, presentation skills, money management, and most importantly made me a better leader.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Earlier this month we launched the Unspoken Smiles Country Representatives, a program dedicated to work with dental students/professionals, organizations, and the university community to build awareness of the Unspoken Smiles’ mission. The role of a Country Rep is to build a strong network of dental professionals, resources, and also serve as a driving force toward meeting the challenge to improve oral health of low-income children in underserved communities through development and support of effective programs of oral health promotion and disease prevention. We currently have representatives from six different countries (USA, Haiti, Romania, Italy, Dominican Republic, and India)

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