About us » Our History
Why Tanzania? Why Dental and Community Development?
Bridge2Aid was established in 2002 for two reasons - to address the problem of dental pain in developing countries and to empower people living at a government care centre. Our timeline will show you how our work has progressed over the last few decades.
1990's - Tanzania
Bridge2Aids founders, Ian and Andie Wilson meet in Tanzania in the mid 1990’s, during which time Ian is making short term dental visits and Andie is helping to build an orphanage in a village in the Mwanza region. They get married in the UK, but have a strong desire to return to Tanzania.
2002 - Bridge2Aid is founded
The Wilsons found Bridge2Aid and return to Tanzania with their young family. They begin working with Bukumbi Care Centre which is a Care Centre set up by the Tanzanian government around the 1970’s for People Affected by Leprosy and other disabilities. They also begin discussions with local and national government and other agencies about the need for dental services.
2003 - Bukumbi Care Centre
At this point, refurbishment begins at Bukumbi Care Centre and becomes the focus of our Community Development work. Teams come out a few times a year to refurbish the living accommodation, health centre, community block and local school. This gave the residents a clean and safe place to live in dignity.
2004 - Hope Dental Centre Opens
Hope Dental Centre opens in October of 2004 and operates on a unique self-funding basis. Now seeing over 280 paying patients each month, all the profits are used to help fund our operations in Tanzania.
2004 - Dental Training Programme is created
With a team of 2 volunteer dentists and 1 volunteer nurse, a pilot programme is held in November 2004. This is the beginning of our Clinical Officer Training Programme.
2005 to 2007 - Dental Training Programme grows
Eight programmes, relying on the expertise of volunteer dentists and nurses, run in rural areas of Northern Tanzania training Clinical Officers.
2007 - Education focus at Bukumbi Care Centre
Education is a fundamental way out of poverty and in 2007, the education of the children connected to Bukumbi Care Centre becomes a larger focus of our work. From here, the Education Sponsorship Programme is established.
2008 to 2011- B2A Dental Team grows and Programmes expand
The number of volunteer teams increase, the Programme expands to new areas of Northern Tanzania and in-country partnerships are established.
2009 - Income Generation Projects begin at Bukumbi Care Centre
Income generation is key to a sustainable, independent community. Small scale projects in jewellery making, farming, weaving and sewing are started in 2009 and have continued with specialised skills and business support.
2011 - Final renovations completed at Bukumbi Care Centre
The eighth and final renovation is completed! All Centre buildings have been improved and made comfortable for community members. Maintenance of these buildings is monitored by community members.
2012 - Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Committee is established at Bukumbi Care Centre
The establishment of this committee is an encouraging sign that the government are planning to build on the work that has already been done and are taking responsibility for the future of the community.
2012 - Expansion of the Dental Training Programme within Tanzania
Until 2012, the first 23 DVP Programmes were focussed around Lake Victoria. In January of 2012, we run our first pilot programme from Dodoma, in the centre of Tanzania. This pilot programme ensures that the programme can, realistically and reliably, be transferred to other areas of Tanzania and further afield. Programmes will to be run from Dodoma multiple times each year.
2012 - First graduates of Education Sponsorship Programme
After 2 years of vocational training, the first two graduates move into the real world of running their own business with support from sponsors and B2A, a business support model which will benefit future graduates.