Ajman University dentistry students, under the supervision of veteran faculty, treat nearly 500 patients each day at the free clinic on campus. Each semester, they pack supplies and suitcases for an 1800-mile trip to Kathmandu, Nepal to offer volunteer services to hundreds of underserved in the Himalayas.
Led by Talal Sultan, a fifth-year AU student, a total of 32 cohorts spend two weeks at a time treating locals in makeshift hospitals and Bhutanese refugees in camps. They also conduct oral hygiene awareness campaigns across communities and hand out dental necessities to children. The students stay in youth hostels and devote their entire stay to making a difference.
“It’s a real team effort,” Talal explains, noting that without the tireless support of each member, the trips would not be as effective or enriching. “The work has taught us professionally and has touched our souls personally.”
The service trips to Nepal are part of a long tradition of social responsibility at AU that commenced when the campus opened in 1988. Talal’s own commitment to humanity runs especially deep thanks to his familial DNA as well as his collegiate consciousness. His father, who graduated from AU in 1992 with a degree in engineering, helped the civil defense to rescue people when Ajman was hit by a major flood in 1997. Currently based out of Toronto, Sayah Sultan continues to use his skills and passion to improve the work of industries – and the lives of individuals – from the UAE to Canada.
“For the last three decades, the values inherent to our campus environment have grown from the U.A.E.’s cultural heritage and national traditions,” notes AU Chancellor Karim Seghir, Ph.D. “Now, more than 33,000 alumni are spread across the world as ambassadors for our institution and our country.”
What’s next for AU’s young dentists on a mission to make people smile? Starting in early 2018, they’ll hit the road in a high-tech mobile dental clinic – taking their heartfelt and erudite care to immobilized communities in Ajman and the surrounding Emirates.