One of the best feelings in life comes when you succeed to bring a smile to someone’s face. A smile is the universal language of kindness and happiness, and Mother Teresa said:
“Peace begins with a smile.”
A Brazilian dentist is well aware of the power of smiling, so he decided to encourage more smiles to make more happy hearts. Felipe Rossi formed an NGO in 2016, called Por1sorriso NGO, and together with his team, he fixes poor people’s teeth- for free!
He was inspired to help the most vulnerable after he went to Mozambique with an NGO called Mission Africa.
“I came back impacted with so much human misery, and decided to do something bigger using my academic background which is dentistry.”
He then started off with two friends, and nowadays, Por1Sorriso has more than 20 people on staff and many volunteers.
He points out:
“It is everyone’s job, and I value the team. I founded and chaired, but it is everyone’s job.”
The NGO also gets a little help from toothbrush brand Colgate which donates things necessary for the project.
Rossi went on to explain:
“We travel every month to meet the most disadvantaged people, and there are many. In Brazil, more than 20 million people have never gone to the dentist. This number is alarming. And we get in there and see this lack of care. These are the people we want to reach.”
During the first three years of the project, more than 4,000 people volunteered to help.
Rossi’s mission often takes him to the third world countries, so he often visits places like Kenya and Mozambique.
One of their many patients, Terri Rimmer, explained that her life was a complete hell before the surgery she had.
“Before surgery, my life was just a black hole. I spent years not being able to smile in pictures and it was always humiliating because people taking pictures in a group setting kept saying, ‘smile’ and I couldn’t do it.
Also, I had to give up so many things that I couldn’t eat that I loved for years like fresh cherries and salads. I hadn’t had a salad in 18 years! “
The intervention she went through was extremely complex. Rossi had to remove all of her teeth and bring in bones from a corpse. She spent months in excruciating pain before she recovered completely, as the medicines she took caused an upset stomach.
“After surgery, I can smile in pictures and I have confidence! When I put my dentures in for the first time and went into the bathroom at the dentist I just kept looking at myself in the mirror and smiling. It was like my face was plugged in after all these years! My eyes just lit up and my face was just lifted! Even my mom and other people noticed.”
She now lives a happy, socially normal life, and she is respected as she deserves.
Rossi, the world needs more people like you!
Here are photos of other people this good Samaritan made smile: