Inspiring women transforming Sri Lankan lives

TWO vibrant pink Tuk Tuks are helping to transform the lives of single mums and girls in Sri Lanka thanks to the support of women dental practitioners. 

Dr Catherine McCanny Hendron and Dr Martina Hodgson were motivated to donate the Tuk Tuks by a presentation from the Rosie May Foundation to Inspiring Women in Dentistry, which aims to encourage more women to achieve their full potential within dentistry in the UK. 

The Tuk Tuks are just part of the work being done by the Nottingham based Rosie May Foundation in Sri Lanka and Nepal to help empower women and girls and provide greater life chances.  

Both Catherine, from St Michael’s Orthodontics in Wakefield, and Martina, from The Dental Studio, East Ardsley, made their donations off the back of Invisalign, the clear orthodontic dental treatment for realigning teeth that they both provide. Catherine marked the occasion of her 500th Invisalign treatment and reaching Diamond provider status with a £4,000  donation to buy one Tuk Tuk and support training for two female drivers while Martina donated £50 for each Invisalign treatment she has carried out to fund a second. 

“It is really hard for single mothers to support their families especially in Sri Lanka where there is a high rate of attacks and abuse on public transport. The idea of the pink Tuk Tuks is that they are driven by single mothers to transport other women and children. This gives the mums a sustainable income while also providing safe travel for women and girls going to work or school,” explained Catherine. 

“Education and work are a passport to freedom for women in South East Asia where many are vulnerable or have been abused,” added Martina, co-founder of Inspiring Women in Dentistry which she set up with York based Dr Andrea Ubhi after a chance meeting in a Wetherby coffee shop.

“While half of those entering dentistry in the UK are women, only a fraction make it to the top levels. Bumping into Andrea showed us both how beneficial it was to speak to another woman in the profession. Inspiring Women in Dentistry enables us to take this further, provide role models particularly for those building their careers and help empower women elsewhere in the world by supporting the Rosie May Foundation and Asha Nepal, which helps survivors of trafficking and severe violence in Kathmandu, in their efforts to break the circle of poverty.”