projects 24 June 2014 core projects



Over 80% of children in townships suffer from tooth decay.

The most common cause of school absenteeism is tooth-ache.

2 dentists serve the whole of Khayelitsha, which has a population nearing 1 million people.

Many children in South African townships have never had a toothbrush. Most share theirs with their family.

The LiveSmart project was based on the Fit For School programme which has been so successful in the Philippines. The Dental Wellness Trust has taken two aspects of Fit For Life to be applied in South Africa – brushing teeth and washing hands.

Our supervised brushing programme was started in 3 schools in 2013 as a research project to test the effectiveness the brushing and hand washing. Children attending the schools with the supervised brushing were found to have improved dental and overall health. Teachers who supervised the sessions noted an improvement in their pupils’ general health and demeanours, and the teachers themselves remarked that their self esteem had improved. They took great value from their involvement in the brushing programme.

After the pilot study finished, we expanded it and called it LiveSmart. It is now running in 6 schools.

The programme teaches children in Khayelitsha township near Cape Town about the values of brushing their teeth, washing their hands and eating and drinking healthily.

In January 2014 one of the supervisors decided that she wanted to help more than just the children at her school. Mavis set up an after school club at her house so that kids could benefit from the LiveSmart message whilst also staying safe at night time. She has now expanded this to 5 sites and children come every day to benefit from the DWT and Mavis’s work.