Robert Barrie Receives Rotary Award For Sharing (And Improving) Smiles
When a fire destroyed farm workers’ cottages near Wellington earlier this year, and a worker lost her dentures in the fire, the Rotary Club of Newlands wanted to help.
They contacted medical doctor Dr Peter Vurgarellis from the Durbanville Rotary Club who immediately recommended the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Prof Robert Barrie, of the Faculty of Dentistry. Prof Barrie organised her treatment and she was soon able to smile again!
For this - and for many other similar acts of community service, the Rotary Club of Newlands has honoured Prof Barrie as a Paul Harris Fellow, at a ceremony held on 4 September 2017.
The award has been made in recognition of the services that Prof Barrie (who is not himself a member of the Rotary Club) has rendered to the community over a long period of time.
UWC’s Faculty of Dentistry (the largest School of Dentistry in Africa) has a number of outreach programmes, providing eager students with the opportunity to practice their skills and provide services in the community after hours.
The Durbanville Rotary Club has been assisting the Dental Faculty for several years by providing support for dental outreach visits to Klipheuwel and Fisantekraal over weekends. Prof Barrie has been coordinating these and other weekend outreach visits to surrounding rural communities, which have resulted in many people receiving free dental services.
Prof Barrie is also a fellow of the International College of Dentists (ICD), the world’s oldest and largest honour society for dentists - an honour awarded in recognition of the individual’s “outstanding professional achievement, meritorious service and dedication to the continued progress of dentistry for the benefit of humankind” - words that he has always tried to live by.
“It is my desire as a Christian and as a dentist to serve others - that is why I specialized in Community Dentistry, and that is the service ethic I desire to pass on to our students,” he says. “I am both humbled and honoured to receive this award.”