Good Deeds – Stories

Mavis’s Story

mavisMavis Onako Nonkongozelo Phahlindlela is 38 years old from Eastern Cape in Nggamakwe in Mtebele Village, she is happily married with has one sister and four children.

Mavis joined Dental Wellness Trust on 21st November 2013 and when she heard about the ethos of LiveSmart. Mavis was keen to get involved and help the children in her community.

Mavis contacted her community committee and asked if she could hold an evening club throughout the week in her house to educate children about dental and oral health specifically focused on brushing their teeth. After these arrangements Mavis contacted Dr Linda Greenwall for assistance in acquiring toothbrushes, toothpastes and soaps for the children in the community. In January 2014, Linda Greenwall came to South Africa to meet Mavis and supply her with the toothbrushes, toothpastes and soaps. Then in March 2014, Mavis started to raise awareness about the LiveSmart programme and encouraged people to get involved across the townships.

Previously I mentioned how Ntombosindiso became involved, Ntombosindiso also managed to recruit three new volunteers for the LiveSmart programme their names are Nokuzola, Thembisa and Mavis. Faith also wanted to get involved and Mavis trained her, Nokwanda and Xolelwa who are Mavis colleagues at Lukhanyo Educare Centre.

Mavis influence on the charity has also inspired her daughter Sesethu to open her own LiveSmart club at Church, Mavis has asked Tamara to help her with this new club.


In May 2015, Mavis was asked by Dr Linda Greenwall to work full time for Dental Wellness Trust and this year hopes to help 5000 children on top of the hundreds of children that have previously been helped. Now Mavis raising awareness about LiveSmart to the principles of the Educare Centre’s with follow up appointments being scheduled train teachers and children.

Mavis friends describe her as a problem solver, she believes in sharing both good and bad experiences in her life because from sorrow to happiness it can give someone the power and strength to live. Mavis always puts 100 per cent effort into all her work and is always grateful for God’s guidance in her life.

The best thing about being involved with Dental Wellness Trust to help children prevent tooth decay and when these children become older they can educate their children all because they were part of the LiveSmart program by Dental Wellness Trust.

Dr Linda Greenwall inspired Mavis because Linda founded Dental Wellness Trust in 2011 and in South Africa there is dental or oral education programmes. With the LiveSmart programme and Dental Wellness Trust; Mavis can now help to make a change in the way in which children tend to their dental health in South Africa.

Jade’s Story

jadeMy name is Jade, I am a dental hygienist from Vancouver, Canada.

I first became involved with the Dental Wellness Trust in 2013 with the tooth brushing pilot program in Khayelitsha. Working with the Dental Wellness Trust in Cape Town really opened my eyes to the significance of community health promotion. I went from working full-time in an urban dental office, to promoting the health of hundreds of children in rural schools in South Africa.

I had the privilege of being involved in data collection both at the beginning and at the end of this program, and to witness the changes that took place. The teachers were so enthusiastic about their role in the tooth brushing program, and their pride during the group sessions was palpable. They wrote songs to encourage the children to brush their teeth, they found innovative new ways to store toothbrushes at school, and most importantly they observed positive changes in their own lives as a result.

It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this program, and an experience that has truly enriched both my personal and professional life. I was exposed to research and program development with the Dental Wellness Trust, and I quickly discovered an interest in these areas. This prompted me to pursue a Master’s degree in research, and to become involved in public health and community initiatives at home in Canada.

I look forward to seeing the ongoing success of this program, and the success of the Dental Wellness Trust as it continues to advance health and education in rural communities.

Hikari’s Story

hikariMy name is Hikari, I am a dental hygienist from Terrace, Canada.

I heard about the Dental Wellness Trust through a colleague, and subsequently spent several months volunteering in South Africa in late 2014. My time volunteering with the DWT taught me the impact of empowerment within a community. Working alongside the teachers who were part of the DWT’s tooth brushing program was a truly humbling experience. Observing their commitment to the program showed me the value that they themselves saw in the project.

During the workshops several of the teachers expressed the positive growth they observed in themselves, and many expressed that being a part of the program made them feel valued within their communities. Some expressed their hopes for the program, that it would expand into different facets of their community and others hoped to see the program implemented in other provinces of South Africa. The ultimate lesson from my experience was having my perspective changed forever.

Volunteering gave me a new perspective on my role within the “global community”; that as a global citizen I am in the position to use my skillset to help make a difference. My experience with the DWT has been amazing and eye-opening, and I cannot speak highly enough of the experience. Jade and I look forward to working with the DWT again in the near future!

Sikhona Educare Centre

Dieketso, one of the LiveSmart supervisors started volunteering a year ago, with the children. The programme involves educating children about washing their hands and to brush their teeth. Frank, their driver for the day helped the LiveSmart supervisors create a toothbrush holder and is also raising awareness charity’s work whilst also recruiting new volunteers for the programme.

Ntombosindiso’s story

Ntombosindiso is a 42 year old mother with an eighteen year old son. She heard about the Dental Wellness Trust whilst in a taxi with Mavis who was explaining the programme to another passenger.

Ntombosindiso wanted to get involved with the charity’s work and therefore altered her community committee about the LiveSmart programme. The Committee were supportive and offered her an unused shack to educate parents about the ethos of LiveSmart and Dental Wellness Trust.

As a supervisor, Ntombosindiso helps seventy three children within her community in Khayelitsha and “her dream is to see the LiveSmart programme all over the world because a lot of people take their teeth for granted which can cause tooth decay if children don’t brush twice a day.


Tamara’s story

Tamara is also a 30 year old mother with three children aged ten, six and three and was not working at the time when she heard about LiveSmart in March 2014. She heard about the programme through Mavis and Sesethu, the reason Tamara joined is because children in her community eat junk food a lot and they have tooth decay”. The “LiveSmart programme has helped educate them to know that chips and sweets are not good for their teeth.” Tamara’s dream have an after school care centre that looks after children who do not have parents.

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