In 2009 Kim Groizard traveled to Cambodia on what she anticipated would be a fun loving backpacking holiday, after suffering with severe depression and suicidal tendencies for the previous 2 years. However when she visited the Choeung Ek Killing Fields just outside of Phnom Penh she was appalled to discover evidence of the darker side of Cambodia's history.
Whilst walking around the mass graves she found human teeth coming up through the dirt pathways. These had belonged to people who had lost their lives at the site during the Khmer Rouge & Pol Pot regime.
Whilst sitting in the shadow of the commemorative Stupa holding appox 8,000 skulls she broke down realising for the first time that the people of Cambodia would have done anything to survive, whilst for the previous 2 years she felt like she had nothing to live for. It was a moment of clarity, a real head and heart moment that changed her life.
In 2011 Kim returned to Cambodia and visited a hill tribe village just outside of Sen Monorom where she gave out much needed toothbrushes to the local community.
After receiving their toothbrushes 2 little boys ran into their straw roof hut and emerged with the oldest tube of colgate toothpaste Kim had ever seen. They started furiously brushing their teeth, until foam dripped from their chins.
After an all day elephant trek adventure, she returned to the village to see the children still tightly holding their toothbrushes, as if they were gold. It warmed Kim's heart and she knew immediately that if they were given the toothbrushes they would start to take better care of their teeth.
The toothbrushes were so well received by the whole community that the idea of being able to deliver a portable dental service to these people, was born.
She found most people in rural Cambodia earned only USD $1 /day and were unable to afford a toothbrush let alone travel to cities to access dental care. With her background as a Dental Assistant & working currently as a Dentist Recruiter, it spurred her on to find a way to supply rural Cambodia with meaningful dental support.
Through Rotary Australia Community Services (RAWCS), Solar Smiles Dental Charity is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission ABN 37 739 341 003