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Volunteer Now!

 

To volunteer now, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (see below for details).

 

Want to Volunteer?

"I am interested but would like a lot more information before I make my decision."

Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we will send you a package of information.

 

"I have read the information you sent me but I still have questions."

Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0208 871 4859 and we will endeavour to answer you within 24 hours.

 

"I have read the information you sent me and I would like to volunteer."

Then send us the following by scanning and attaching to an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ...

 

  • Current CV
  • Current GDC certificate
  • Most recent CRB (not more than two years old please)
  • Letter of good standing (for an example click here)
  • COMPLETED AND SIGNED Application form (click here)
  • BDS (or equivalent) certificate from university
  • US $100 – the fee for the Burmese Dental Council to process your application for temporary working licence.
  • Copy of photo page of current passport

 

We will then send on the CV, BDS, Passport, GDC certificate and letter of good standing to the Ministry of Health through the Burmese General Dental Council Secretary and ask for temporary registration for you to treat patients (this applies to dentists, nurses, hygienists and therapists).

 

By providing your information you are giving us permission to share this information with third parties for the sole purpose of arranging your permission and travel arrangements.

What Should I Do Now?

After you have agreed your volunteering dates with Burmadent you can book your flights BUT if possible ensure flexibility when ordering tickets. Burma is a developing country and Burmadent cannot guarantee or be held responsible if your invitation or temporary registration is refused by the Burmese authorities. This has never happened to an application we have made but it is a possibility that we should make you aware of. Many flights cannot be changed or refunded, please bear this in mind. See “Flights”

 

You can arrange to have your inoculations, check timings. See “Inoculations

 

You can start fundraising to cover your travel and accommodation expenses.

 

You can contact the local Burmese travel agent on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange all your internal transport, transfers and accommodation. This travel agency belongs to U Ohn Maung a local benefactor at Lake Inle. If you are volunteering around the Lake, then it is necessary to inform him through this agency the dates that you are volunteering. If you are volunteering in another part of the country, the agency can still organise your internal flights etc but they will not be coordinating with the local hospital/school or clinic that you are working with. We will do that for you and copy you in so you know the email address of your contact in Burma.

When Do I Get My Visa?

As soon as we receive your temporary registration it will be emailed to you.

 

You can then go to the Burmese Embassy with the temporary licence, a valid passport and a letter from Burmadent confirming that you are travelling as a volunteer for us (please give us 48 hours notice that you need this letter). You can also send it registered to 19a Charles Street, London W1J 5DX (0207 148 0740) and request a business visa. You will also need two identical passport photographs.

 

You can obtain the application form from their website at www.londonmyanmarembassy.com. It will take 4 working days to process your application.

 

NB you can only apply for a visa 3 months before your expected date of travel.

Airfare

London to Rangoon (Yangon), via Bangkok from approximately £750 per person RETURN. Rangoon to Heho (Lake Inle) approximately £240 per person return.

 
There are now many airlines flying into Rangoon. BA stops in Bangkok and you have to catch a one hour flight onto Rangoon. Singapore, Thai and Qatar Airlines are some that fly into Rangoon with a short stop in their native country.

Hotels

In general the cost of accommodation is from US$50 per night (for double occupancy) in Nyaung Shwe – the town on the north of Lake Inle’s shores. We have seen the following hotels ourselves on our last trip, but please remember things change rapidly. They are all in the middle of town with restaurants and shops within easy reach. Luxury and mid range hotels are available around the Lake as well but you should be aware that there will be no shops or restaurants around these hotels and you will not be able to get into town at night – there are no taxis on these roads or water taxis on the Lake at night. Tell the agent you book with your preference for modest, luxury or super luxury.

 

You should ask for air conditioning, a mosquito net, wifi and your own bathroom.

 

If you are going further afield in the Shan province or to another part of Burma, your accommodation might be a hammock in an unused building or a tent as some places are very remote and have no hotels. You need to indicate to us just how intrepid you are willing to be!

 

We have stayed at the 7 mile hotel in Rangoon which was reasonably priced, clean and with a good breakfast. It is not far from the airport.

Transfers

From Heho to Lake Inle will cost around US$45 one way and can be arranged by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Transport from Lake Inle to the hospital or infirmary, is usually provided free by local benefactor. If you are presented with a bill for local transport at the end of your visit, just give it to us on your return and we will settle it directly.

 

NB: At local airports luggage is often just dropped in a pile in the middle of the room rather than on a carousel. Watch out for the arrival of the suitcases so you can claim yours quickly

Transport

This may be one of the least successful forms of transport in the local towns for rather larger Westerners! But cheap and effective.  

But on the other hand, this one has its

advantages after a hot steamy day in

the clinic…

 

 
Taxis are relatively cheap in Burma, public transport ie the buses require the passengers to have no claustrophobia and enjoy being very close to strangers. In Nyaung Shwe we organise transport through our local benefactor and his agency to get to the Metta Hospital and Ay Thar Yar.

Itinerary

Once your international flights are booked, please send the details to the travel company we use at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and say that you are coming as a dental volunteer for Burmadent. Give them the details of your requirements for instance luxury hotel and any post volunteering travel you would like to do around Burma. They will then organise your internal travel from Rangoon to Lake Inle. They can also organise any other internal travel around to other parts of Burma for you. Phyu Phway is our contact and a very competent travel agent, she speaks English and is very nice.

Food

Lunch is provided free by hospital staff at the Metta Hospital on Lake Inle (we suggest you give a donation to the hospital at the end of the trip of about US$4 per meal). Ay Thar Yar committee will do the same thing and refuse to take a donation!

 

The food is home cooked and absolutely delicious. They will cater for vegetarians. Elsewhere we have found that the locals will consider it their duty to provide you with food, we always try to recompense them in some way by making a donation.
 
Dinner will be available at the remote stations as above where you will be asked to join in family or institution meals. There are always plenty of vegetarian options as the people are poor and meat is a luxury.

 

 

 
In the towns such as Nyaung Shwe there are many of bars, restaurants and hotels serving a whole range of foods and a good meal can be had for US$10. Myanmar beer is cheap and a very good lager. There are Burmese wines, all three vineyards are located around Lake Inle (no, that is not why we choose to operate there!). You can visit one of the vineyards which is no more than 15 minutes’ drive from the Ay Thar Yar Clinic where tapas, meals and wine sampling can take place overlooking a magnificent view.

 
Water should ONLY be drunk from unopened bottles.

Inoculations

You should ask for the latest advice from your doctor or travel clinic as the inoculation profile changes over time. You should ask for advice about Japanese encephalitis

 
Malaria tablets (2 weeks supply approx. £80), Hepatitis A (approx. £45), Hepatitis B (all dentists will have this already), Rabies (approx. £195 course of 3 injections) and Typhoid (3 tablets for approx. £50 which is a whole course). It is assumed that you will have had all the normal childhood inoculations (measles, diphtheria etc) and have an up to date tetanus booster.

Weather

Lake Inle average day temperatures in centigrade and monthly rainfall in inches are as follows:-

 

Month Temperature Monthly Rainfall
January 25 negligible
February 27 ditto
March 31 ditto
April 32 2"
May 30 6 1/2"
June  27 7 1/2"
July 27 8"
August 26 10"
September 27 9 1/2"
October 27 7"
November 25 2 1/2"
December 24 1/2"

 

Other parts of Burma are different and depending on where you are volunteering you should look up the area on one of available websites. Just Google “weather in Burma” and you will find many such websites. Remember that lowlands like Mandalay area will be much hotter than hilly areas like Shan.

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency is the Kyat (pronounced "Chat"). However, It is recommended that you take US dollars - small notes. They should be pristine, no folds, no marks or turned over corners. Also do not take dollars with the serial number beginning with CB as they will not be accepted. Even tips cannot be given with marked dollars.

Credit Cards are rarely accepted. If you do find a hotel that will take them they will charge you a hefty % charge. You can change dollars into Kyat reasonably easily at the airport. You cannot obtain the currency before you arrive in Burma. (US$1 is approximately 960 kyats but this alters daily).

 

You will find cashpoint machines in some larger towns and there is now one in Nyaung Shwe. But many of them charge up to 10% service charge on any cash withdrawal.

Communications

Your mobile phone will probably not work - if you can't live without one, then you can hire one at Rangoon airport or you can buy a local sim card which are freely available. The cost is approximately $2 per day with $50 deposit. At the airport there is the Yatanapon rental service. You do not need to order in advance. You will be able to use a computer at your hotel if it has wifi – check before booking.

 
We will provide a basic Burmese mobile phone with some pre paid cards. It will have telephone numbers in its memory that will be useful for you.

The Country

Burma (Myanmar) has around 60 million inhabitants and the main language is Burmese. However, many Burmans (a tribe) do not understand the local languages spoken around the country by the other tribes. Rangoon (Yangon) is not officially the capital city any longer. the official capital is Naypyidaw. Rangoon is still the main city in Burma.

 
You will find the Burmese very friendly and helpful.

 

We have added a few photographs of the country and the people.
 

 

Rangoon Map

 

 

Lake Inle

Lake InleIs 7 miles wide at its widest and 14 miles long. It is surrounded by high grassy hills where many of the tribes live. The Lake is very shallow. The Phaung Daw Oo Paya is one of the most revered sites in Burma and there is a very famous festival in October when the Buddhas from the temple are taken around the Lake in huge open barges.

 

You will be able to visit floating markets where the Lake tribes, the Intha people mingle with the hill tribes. Many of the buildings including the hospital are on the Lake and access is by long boat, driven by one of the very competent local boatmen. Nyaung Shwe is the main town on the northern end of the Lake, where if you are working in Shan we would expect you to base yourself due to the facilities available – not least of which is a wonderful, cheap spa!

 

 

Area of Lake Inle

Practical Advice

  • Take a small bottle of hand disinfectant to use before you eat.
  • Drink bottled water.
  • Take all of the malaria tablets prescribed to you.
  • Take from UK malaria spray that contain DEET and use it at dusk, evenings and night.
  • Wear long sleeves.
  • Take loose, cotton clothing – modest.
  • Take a mosquito net with a hook to use where one is not provided at night.
  • Take a loose rain cover in case of rain.
  • Take a cardigan for the evenings
  • Take a minimum of two medical uniforms, you can wash them out at night or your hotel can arrange a laundry service.

 

Working Conditions

These will depend entirely on the location of your volunteering.

 
We have an informal cooperation with other charities working in Burma who would like us to provide a mobile dental service for their children in schools, orphans in orphanages or patients in their medical establishments. None will have a dental surgery available. Our mobile units are entirely self-sufficient and will include a patient chair, dental chair, autoclave or pressure cooker, suction, compressor and wheeled custom made cases for all the equipment. If you would like to see the unit look at the designer and manufacturer’s website. www.newcodent.com

 
Some of these sites are very remote indeed and sleeping accommodation will be a hammock in a virtually empty building.

 
Other sites will be near Rangoon or near Lake Inle where you can stay in luxury hotels if you want to and may well be working in a fully equipped dental surgery.

 
We provide a Burmese speaking nurse who will be trained either by us or possibly be a medical nurse or a willing volunteer.

 

We have to be adaptable and if you need to train someone to use an autoclave, then please do so. You will find these people very willing to learn and very grateful that you are providing treatment in their country.

Our Work

We aim to help those who cannot afford dental treatment. Most people have no access to dentistry and rely on charities such as ours. There are many private dentists but their charges are way beyond the majority of the Burmese.

 
We know that prevention and education are the only real ways forward. So we use every opportunity to teach, play and show youngsters and their parents or teachers. We try to take toothbrushes and toothpaste out with us and give them out to the orphans.