What Volunteering With Smiles Movement Looks Like For Dental Students

smiles 4 life dental volunteers

Imagine a world where barriers like income or background don’t dull the brilliance of a smile. MEDLIFE, with its Smiles Movement initiative, aims to make this vision a reality, championing the cause of healthcare, education, and safe housing for underserved communities. Positioned in the heart of Lima, Peru, Smiles Movement isn’t just another dental student volunteer program—it’s a heartfelt call for volunteers to be the change they wish to see in the world. Dive deep into this transformative journey, not just as a helper but as a beacon of hope. Because when we unite, every smile becomes a testament to a brighter, more equal world.

smiles 4 life volunteer

Understanding Lima’s Struggles

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a bustling metropolis with over 10 million residents. But as vibrant as its urban heartbeat is, there are stark disparities. On its peripheries, “pueblos jovenes” are poignant reminders of the city’s inequalities. Nearly a million people live in makeshift shacks in these settlements, devoid of basic amenities like running water and electricity. The advent of COVID-19 exacerbated their vulnerabilities. Relying predominantly on day-to-day earnings from informal jobs, the pandemic swept through their lives, amplifying financial burdens and plunging many into food insecurities. Lima’s true essence isn’t just in its lively squares or historic sites—it’s also in the resilience of its marginalized communities.

Smiles Movement Service Learning Trips

On a Smiles Movement Service Learning Trip, dental student volunteers can explore Lima’s beauty firsthand while providing valuable services to its inhabitants. With nearly a million people living without access to adequate healthcare in Lima’s outskirts, the need for dental care is urgent.

This is where you come in.

By volunteering at our Mobile Clinic Dental Stations or the MED Dental Clinic, you can bring a touch of relief to these communities. It’s not just about treatment—it’s about prevention and education. You’ll gain invaluable insights into providing high-quality care in challenging conditions by shadowing local dentists. But the impact doesn’t end there.

The Dental Education Workshop, conducted in local schools, is a cornerstone of our initiative. Here, dental student volunteers work directly with children, instilling in them the principles of dental health. We’re laying the foundation for a healthier future by teaching them early on. It’s an intricate dance of care, compassion, and community. By joining this movement, you’re not just volunteering; you’re lighting the path to brighter smiles and better lives.

smiles 4 life

The Three Pillars: Service, Education, and Transformation

At the core of the Smiles Movement Service Learning Trip lies three indispensable pillars that shape our mission and your journey.


Dive right in and make tangible differences. Whether it’s at a Mobile Clinic or through developmental projects, your hands-on service helps bring crucial medical care and health education to marginalized communities. Your effort provides more than just temporary aid—it provides a  lasting impact.


More than just dental volunteering, this is a learning voyage. Grasp the deeper historical, political, and economic factors that mold the lives of these communities. By shadowing healthcare professionals, you gain insights not just into global health but into humanity itself.

Life-Changing Experiences:

It’s in the candid smiles, the heartfelt thank-yous, the shared stories, and the forged connections. This journey isn’t merely about helping—it’s about growing, evolving, and realizing the power of compassion. Every day holds the promise of transformation both for the community and you.

smiles 4 life dental volunteers

Journey Through Lima: The Smiles Movement Itinerary

When you step into Lima with the Smiles Movement program, each day promises a unique blend of learning, service, and immersion. Here’s a quick peek into your transformative week:

Day 1 (Arrival):

Touchdown in Lima! As you arrive at Jorge Chavez International Airport, our MEDLIFE associate awaits to welcome you to this adventure.

Day 2 (Walking Tour & Orientation):

Start with an enriching stroll through Miraflores, Lima’s heartbeat. The evening brings orientation, setting the stage for the week ahead.

Day 3 (Reality Tour):

Experience the poignant Reality Tour. Witness the stark contrasts of Lima—from urban vibrancy to “pueblos jovenes,” understanding the profound need and our mission here.

Days 4-6 (Mobile Dental Clinics):

Be at the forefront of change! Assist and shadow local professionals at Mobile Dental Clinics, ranging from routine dental appointments to specialized treatments.

Day 7 (Dental Campaign):

A day of education! Delve deep into local schools, leading dental education workshops and offering preventive care to the young ones.

Day 8 (Exploring Lima):

Choose your adventure! Engage in optional tourism activities like the mesmerizing Ica oasis or Lima’s historic treasures downtown.

Day 9 (Departure):

With memories and experiences packed, either continue exploring Peru’s wonders or begin your journey homeward.

smiles 4 life volunteer and patient

A Week of Highlights

This isn’t just any trip—it’s a profound journey through Lima’s heart. Engage deeply through the Reality Tour, be hands-on at Mobile Dental Clinics, inspire young minds in school Dental Campaigns, and soak in Peru’s vibrant culture and history. Every day promises activities and encounters that enrich your spirit and perspective.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

Diving into MEDLIFE’s Smiles Movement program is more than just a dental student volunteer opportunity—it’s a transformative journey. Here, you touch lives and let them shape yours, weaving unforgettable tales of impact and inspiration. As a dental student or professional, this is your gateway to unparalleled learning, enriched through real-world experiences. But beyond the skills, the heartwarming smiles, the gratitude in those eyes, and the bonds you forge remain etched forever. This is not just about dentistry; its about humanity, compassion, and change. So, step forward, embrace this rare chance, and be the change you wish to see!

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