The Dental Marathon team will set off in June to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The goal is to help get free oral healthcare and education to African children.Play Your Part ambassador Thobile Mushwana wants to change the narrative that there are more smart phones than toothbrushes in Africa. He is the founder of the Dental Marathon. (Images: Dental Marathon, Facebook)Melissa JavanPlay Your Part ambassador Thobile Mushwana says he has always had the desire to make a long-term impact on society that will leave a lasting legacy. The founder of the Dental Marathon makes sure that all schoolchildren in the Free State learn about oral health.The Dental Marathon team gives lessons in oral health to schoolchildren; each child in the more than 800 schools also gets a free dental pack that includes a toothbrush and toothpaste.Play Your Part ambassadors promote active citizenship to help overcome South Africa’s challenges.“There are painful stories. It baffles me when I hear that an eight- or nine-year-old has never brushed their teeth,” says Mushwana, who comes from Limpopo. He’s been living in Bloemfontein for eight years. “There is a lot to be done, not just in South Africa but throughout Africa.”To make sure more children get free oral healthcare and education, the Dental Marathon plans to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in June 2017.More than 180,000 schoolchildren benefit from the Dental Marathon initiative in Bloemfontein.Mushwana is the founder and chief executive officer of the Dental Marathon. He says he wants to change the narrative that there are more smart phones than toothbrushes in Africa.This is why the Dental Marathon is establishing a global footprint. To build awareness, Mushwana recorded videos of people all over the world saying they supported the Dental Marathon. He started this #50Different campaign during a visit in Europe.In the videos, people first introduce themselves in their native language; each ends their video saying they support the Dental Marathon. In his video, Mushwana spoke in his native language, Xitsonga. He said: “Avuxeni, vito ra mina hi mina Thobile Mushwana. Ni huma Africa-dzonga ni seketela Dental Marathon.” (In English this means “hi, I’m Thobile Mushwana from South Africa and I support the Dental Marathon.”)The videos are uploaded onto the group’s Facebook page.Watch #50Different campaign videos:How the Dental Marathon worksOnce a week the Dental Marathon team visits a school in Bloemfontein, explains Mushwana. “During the week we do an analysis of the needs of the school we are going to on that particular Friday.”The programme runs throughout the year. On the school visits, the team teaches the children what healthy foods you should eat, how to keep your teeth clean and how to floss.Thereafter, the children leave their toothbrushes at school. In the morning before class starts, the teachers make sure they brush their teeth.Climbing Mount KilimanjaroMushwana says the team will leave Johannesburg for Tanzania on 3 June 2017. He and others will climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, to raise funds.Kili, as it is affectionately known, rises about 4,900 metres from its base to 5,895 metres above sea level.The group aims to raise R10-million to build a Dental Marathon House in Bloemfontein.“Before we leave for Tanzania, we will have a press conference to show what the Dental Marathon House will look like,” says Mushwana.The Dental Marathon HouseAt the Dental Marathon House, children will get free oral healthcare and education, such as free check-ups, explains Mushwana.“We are going to open a head office in Johannesburg. The Dental Marathon House will be established in Bloemfontein.”In addition, the group plans to set up two mobile clinics that will travel throughout South Africa. “We will set up the first mobile clinic with a truck, which will have two dental chairs at the back.”One such mobile clinic will cost R2.2-million.Setting up a global footprintFollowing the Dental Marathon House in Bloemfontein, the organisation wants to establish a Dental Marathon House in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. Once these are complete, the Dental Marathon team has their eye on building houses across the continent.Anyone can partner with the organisation. “We’re not looking for hand outs. We’re looking for a hand to partner with,” says Mushwana. “This brand will continue to grow.”Mushwana says Africa needs more problem solvers. “Most challenges are going to be solved by young people… Within each of us we have the solutions.”The Dental Marathon team consists of an executive board and volunteers. “The young people who serve as volunteers learn things such as how to serve and also to build relationships.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material
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Halfway to Passivhaus?So is PGH just the average of minimum code requirements and today’s most stringent metrics — a new standard that is halfway between the extremes?Richard Renner said no: “This is the 75th or 80th percentile, not the 50th percentile.” He explained that even though they can afford it, many people are just not going to build to the Passivhaus standard. (As an example, he noted that he designed one Passivhaus that was “so passive, it never got built” — a comment that garnered laughs, applause and more than a few sympathetic nods.)Margo Billings, an energy rater on the panel, elaborates: “Passivhaus is very intimidating to someone who doesn’t know what it is. … The best thing about PGH is that it’s a powerful educational tool.”Paul Eldrenkamp, an audience member and builder (and chair of Building Energy 13, NESEA’s annual conference in Boston), agreed. When he first heard the term PGH, he said, “I thought it was brilliant. Even not knowing what it was. … It’s about changing what the people in the field do — an effort to show people in the field what they should think of as good construction techniques. … Most people in the field want to do good work, they want to be good at their job; if you show them, ‘This is a good wall detail, anything less than this is a bad wall detail,’ their natural pride and craftsmanship will take over.”Chris Corson, a Passivhaus designer/builder and meeting attendee, said, “It’s important to bridge the gap, but ultimately we have to ask ourselves, why are we trying to save energy? Is it to save money? To build healthy structures? Is it because we want to indulge in architectural conceit? Or is it because we’re trying to combat anthropomorphic climate change? If that’s one of the drivers, then we have to reduce the energy consumption of the built environment by a substantial amount and we have to do it now. … Passivhaus is a non-prescriptive, metrics-based vehicle to do that.”Jesse countered, “As someone who does that [Passivhaus’ PHPP energy modeling], it’s an analytical tool — you have to analyze every building. That’s why [Building Science Corporation’s] 10-20-40-60 house was pretty damn brilliant: they defined a standard, so there was a place holder.”Someone (my voice recorder and memory failed to recall who) said, “There’s moving the top, and raising the bottom. But how does [a PGH] perform? Most people want to live in a good building, but how do they know what constitutes a good house? [PGH] is a means of communication, communicating to builders and clients what they really want, deep down, which is a house that performs well for them.” (Quick back-story: several months ago, Dan Kolbert proposed a topic for the monthly discussion group at Maine Green Building Supply: “The Pretty Good House.” He insists that he doesn’t really know what it is, other than a title that seems to appeal to a lot of people (and that it annoys “humorless idiots.”) A vague concept?In his introduction at the NESEA meeting, Dan started out by stating that maybe the sole virtue of the PGH is that it’s a vague concept. The truth is that there seems to be a fair amount of agreement that it’s a house that is built better than code but that does not necessarily meet the requirements of Passivhaus, net zero, LEED, or other particularly stringent building standard.Of course, any house that does meet those standards could easily be considered “pretty (darn) good.”Richard Renner, one of three architects on the panel, said that “the highest level [of design and building] is only attainable to the few. … PGH should be a body of knowledge of what is darn good (if not perfect) — useful in developing new designs, and also good for getting clients to understand what we’re trying to do.”Chris Briley, Panel Architect #2, called the PGH “the standard that’s not a standard. … How do you affect the status quo? The ‘pretty’ in PGH is pretty high. … Maybe [PGH] is really about tricking people into building a better house.”Jesse Thompson, Panel Architect #3, noted, “PGH is aggressively nebulous. … It’s about the fifty percenters, the people only comfortable halfway between the extremes. … Right now, one extreme is Passivhaus, but before Passivhaus got fame, we called it the Building Science Corporation’s 10-20-40-60 house — that was the too-hard thing to build.” Thompson was referring to a guideline published by the Building Science Corporation that calls for cold-climate homes to have R-10 sub-slab foam, R-20 basement walls, R-40 above-grade walls, and R-60 ceilings.Thompson continued, “Then way over here is [the building] code. The brilliance of the term PGH is that the name appeals to this enormous group of people.”However, the problem with PGH, in Jesse’s opinion, is that by telling people PGH is good enough, it makes it harder for him and other people on the forefront to pull building standards forward. In his words, “Now we need ‘Extra-Passivhaus.’” The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) held its annual meeting in Portland, Maine, on September 15th, 2012. After a day of tours of local sustainably designed projects and some pre-meeting smorgasbord grazing, the meeting started with a round of speeches by board and association directors. (Exciting changes are coming; stay tuned!). Then the meeting continued with the entertainment portion of the evening: a panel-style discussion about the Pretty Good House.The discussion was moderated by Dan Kolbert, a Portland-area builder, and it didn’t take long for the audience to get involved — making the whole thing seem like a better-dressed version of our building science discussion groups.Like all of our discussions about the Pretty Good House (PGH), the topics and questions ranged all over the place. I had planned to write a single blog post summarizing what we talked about, but there were so many interesting aspects discussed that I think it will make more sense to write a series of posts. One recurring question seems to be, “What the heck is a ‘pretty good house’?” so let’s start with that. RELATED ARTICLES The Pretty Good HouseThe Pretty Good House, Part 2Martin’s Pretty Good House ManifestoRegional Variations on the ‘Pretty Good House’Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing?Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing? Part 2Visiting Energy-Smart Designers and Builders in MaineSteve’s Garage Annual NESEA Meeting and the Pretty Good HouseGreen Building for Beginners A better building standard?Here’s my take: Right now, Passivhaus, “net-zero-ready,” LEED, and other programs define the upper edge of building standards. In other industries, the Upper End appeals to those who want the best — who want to be the best. In other words, the Rolex and Mercedes people, to repurpose an analogy proposed by Jesse Thompson.The Upper End is a stretch, but not impossibly out of reach, for most people. But to get there takes more sacrifice than people are willing to put in. Paul Eldrenkamp noted, “We used to discuss ‘diminishing returns’ a lot more.” To mix in another metaphor, not everyone has the compulsion or the wherewithal to get straight A’s.However, it seems to me that nearly everybody wants, at least, to be better than average. The PGH should seek to define “better than average,” and with that definition, move the average forward. We need the adventurers on the forefront, moving the bar ever upward, and we need Code Minimum to define the worst allowable building standard. Right now the vast majority of houses fall far closer to Code Minimum than they do to any other standard.By defining a practical, achievable level of quality and energy use standards, adjusted for different climates and existing buildings, we can reach a huge number of people who currently only have two extremes to use in judging quality. By educating tradespeople, homeowners, and designers on what a “pretty good house” looks like and how it should perform, we can affect the built environment in a meaningful way, while making ever higher building standards more accessible.What do you think? Is a PGH simply defined as the midpoint between code-minimum (or worse) homes on one end, and Passivhaus (or better) buildings on the other end? Or should the PGH be a more proactive standard, aiming for, say, 75% of the way to the top, in an effort to reach more people and improve more buildings?
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Ginebra ‘Big 3’ delivers in TNT rout Read Next LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises “Tendency-wise, we know each other. I know what he will do and he knows what I can do. We only guarded each other for a while, but I know the rivalry will never go away,” said Ravena, who is just thankful that Teng once again brought the best in him in the face-off.“It will always be a side story of our rivalry and we’re very blessed to be part of that rivalry. There’s a lot of Ateneo and La Salle players who have been in the PBA, and you know, with us the new guys, I think we can renew the spark of Ateneans and La Sallians making a name for themselves in the PBA.”Teng, meanwhile, is looking forward to the next time he plays Ravena again.“We just need to get one over them next time,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT AFP official booed out of forum View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH “It brings back the good old days,” said Teng, who finished with 12 points and three rebounds. “Even though we’re no longer in college, one can’t take away the Ateneo in him and the La Salle in me.Ravena, who also got 12 markers that went with six rebounds and 10 assists, said that playing against Teng fuels his competitive fire and pride to always want to come out on top.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“The pride is always there, having that Ateneo-La Salle rivalry for four years, playing against each other, we really know each other well,” he said.But it’s not just the rivalry that they share but also a bond, having been teammates as a member of the Philippine under-16 team in 2009 and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH PBA IMAGESYears removed from their countless battles in the collegiate ranks, Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng met once again, this time, in the professional stage when NLEX and Alaska faced off in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday.The Road Warriors pulled off the 96-89 victory, but for some, the duel looked like a continuation of the two young stars’ rivalry.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting