In the Argentinian winter of 2004, I was invited into my first slum home. Just one of thousands that lie North West of Buenos Aires in the suburb of San Martin. The dilapidated shack was made up of planks of wood, scavenged bits of plastic and cardboard. There were seven members living in a tiny area. The ‘home’ had no heating, no sanitation and no electricity. Their faces were caked in dirt, their clothes were badly torn and sadly they had no shoes on this cold winter day. They were surviving - all seven of them - on just £1 per day
Despite the living conditions, the most shocking of all was the state of their teeth. The adult smiles showed just black stubs, the remains of teeth decayed long ago. The children suffering from malnutrition and the excess of sugar to compensate from hunger, were unfortunately following suit. A month earlier, one of the children had to be hospitalised due to an untreated abscess. Those were the slums of Buenos Aires of 2004 and these are still the slums of today.
In 2005, I founded the non profit Todos Juntos charity meaning ‘all together’ to work with these people, support the soup kitchens, supply basic needs such as shoes, clothes, blankets, food and school supplies. In 2006, we opened the first free dental clinic - Project Sonrisa - for slum children in Buenos Aires and as the reputation spreads, children now walk for miles to come to the clinic
BUT we could not do what we do today without donations, without grants or fund raising events and hence I am so grateful to our English friends who have set up the TODOS JUNTOS CHILDREN’S TRUST in the UK as a registered charity to join forces and help us further in helping the poorest of the poor.