Nigeria: Glitz Meets Glamour At Smile Project Appreciation Dinner, Award Night

15 December 2019

The invitation card reads: "Clients are the soul of every business and Smile 360 is no exception. As long as we love what we do, without you, there is no Smile 360. Our clients are much more than just clients, you are family and our clinic is home to all of us."

It continues: "In appreciation of your loyalty and as custom to us at Smile 360, we want to celebrate you in a meaningful way."

On December 4, all roads led to Eko Hotel Grand Ball Room when a foremost dental clinic in Nigeria, Smile 360 with its head office on Cameron Road, Ikoyi Lagos held a 'Special Appreciation Dinner and Project Smile Session 7 Awards'. The hall was filled to the brim with dignitaries like Hajia Bola Shagaya, reputable personalities, and professionals in attendance.

Project Smile is a complimentary smile makeover initiative of Smile 360 for Nigerian youths who have suffered lost opportunities and are stigmatized due to the case of flawed dentition. Smile 360 believes in the restoration of Smiles and happiness on the faces of people and this we hope to achieve through Project Smile.

The initiative is in its seventh session and Project Smile 7.0 kicked off on September 16, 2019, with a call to entries which lasted eight weeks. During the period, 226 candidates each with a narrative of how costly dental flaw has deprived them of opportunities, entered for a chance to win the prize of a 'Smile' makeover in the bid to transform their dental configuration and realize the dream of a great smile.

Speaking further on the motive behind the project, the managing director of Smile 360 Dental Clinic, Dr. Amy Traore-Shumbusho, said the motive is to create a smile that would help people to look attractive and confident.

She said, "Smiling can reduce your blood pressure, smiling can increase your immune system, smiling increases your happiness. Imagine the power we have but why are we not smiling. We are here today to talk about Project Smile. It began a few years ago when I realized how powerful a smile is and even more there are people out there who don't have a smile or don't have teeth to smile.

"Then I talked to myself why is anyone would not be able to smile, why would anyone not be able to live his/her life to the fullness. So the project was conceptualized based on this observation. And I just saw it as an opportunity to give young adult, young Nigerians who cannot avoid paying my services an opportunity to smile and be themselves. This is our own way of giving back."

Since the project started, over 20 Nigerians have been given a new lease of life.

"It has not been easy," said Dr. Traore-Shumbusho. "Initially, we started with one candidate and the dentistry treatment process took us two years. By the following year, we were able to sponsor three more with the help of corporate organizations. The following year four more people were selected for treatment through the help of people who contributed to their lives. Project smile is doing great and we can do more. We want you to witness the power of a smile and how a simple smile can transform the life of someone. We have past candidates who have finished their treatments and have their lives transformed."

However, she added, "Today, we are celebrating the seventh edition of Project Smile. And in this edition, we have 226 applicants, which shows how project smile has become popular. The process is transparent and simple. When we get a picture of an applicant with a story of how a makeover will transform their lives, the most touching story will be selected. From 226 applicants they were scaled down to 12. And from those 12, four applicants were selected and they are here today. We want you to join us in deciding out of these four candidates deserve to win the big prize. So we decided to pick two people."

Corroborating Traore-Shumbusho, the Director, Project Smile, Dr. Apara said: "Smile can indeed transform life. But when you hear a story such as 'l've lost my self-esteem.' 'I can't get married just because I can't smile.' So Project Smile is a project that helps increase one's smile. This is our seventh session. So far we have had over 500 people that have applied. Because it is a new project we are taking it gradually as we try to grow the lives of people, try to empower people by giving back the power of smile back to them."

Among the four candidates, Henry Ijeoma emerged the winner, the first runner-up was Sesan Dales. Though Tomilola Bada and Opeyemi Fasuyi did not win, they were lucky as they were both adopted for treatment by anonymous individuals.

Past candidate Sharon whose dream of becoming a model was nearly shattered gave kudos to Dr. Amy and her team for restoring her dreams.

"I didn't know that my smile was bad until I stumbled on Project Smile Session 4. The experience has been awesome. I thank you for changing my life."

The night of glitz and glamour came to an end with a musical performance by 'Surulere' crooner, Dr. Sid.

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