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Fiona Watson '79
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FIONA WATSON '79

Founder of NGO, Todos Juntos

 

After completing a degree in journalism, Fiona began a career in charity work, first working with refugees at the Paris office of an international organisation, followed by volunteer work at an orphanage in Senegal. After a move to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003 for her husband’s career, Fiona noticed the children begging in the streets and quickly discovered a depth of poverty that she had not previously known existed there. In response, she began to volunteer at the Food Bank and then joined a group of people that went out at night to feed the hungry. She says, “We boiled eggs by the hundreds, bought bread and crates of bananas and milk to serve whole families standing in line on street corners.” Eventually traveling deep into the slums, Fiona was most shocked by the state of the teeth and mouths of the slum dwellers, including very young women and children. After meeting with the local authorities, Fiona set up dental hygiene sessions with a few volunteers and distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste. Finding that it was not enough, she then set up a legal charity called  Todos Juntos , to receive funds, and opened a free dental clinic to treat children of the slums.

 

Todos Juntos has opened three free dental clinics since 2006, treating over 7,000 children and saving thousands of teeth from extraction, the only treatment previously available to those unable to pay for private dentists. The charity also runs dental hygiene sessions in soup kitchens and kindergartens, distributes clothes, supplies and medicines and has built a small community centre for children in the heart of one of the largest slums.

 

(Updated April 2017)

 

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