It’s hard to believe it’s been over 2 years since I moved to Uganda. Our team has been able to live some amazing stories during our team here, and we feel we are connected enough to share them with you…because without you, we wouldn’t be able to do our work here!

Today, I want to update you on one of our original team members — Fred Okach. Actually, Fred is going to update you personally — he was recently serving with us for a few days recently and was willing to share what he’s been working on with Hope Smiles worldwide!

But first, a quick background. I met Fred during an service trip to Kenya during my last year of dental school in 2010. He was working as a dental technician at one of the clinics we visited. When I told him I was moving to Uganda, I offered him a job with us and he decided to move to serve with us.

Not too long after Fred moved to Uganda and started working with us, he was accepted to the dental school at Kampala International University, where he is now in his 3rd year studying dentistry.

Without further ado, here is Fred’s introduction to y’all:

Greetings, my name is Fred Okach, and I thank you for your support of Hope Smiles! Because of you, I have been able to follow my dream of becoming a dentist. I am a third year student at Kampala International University. Prior to my entrance to Kampala International University, I was a dental technician by profession. I began my work as a dental technician in 2006. I received my training at Kenya Medical Training College from 2003-2006.

I have been pursuing my dream of becoming a dentist for many years. When I graduate, I plan to put my new skills into practice be working with Hope Smiles Uganda. I would like to work full time alongside Dr. Ryan, who has been my greatest inspiration about humility, love, and servanthood through Jesus Christ, especially to the community in Uganda and in my life.

I am very passionate about everything in dentistry, but currently prosthodontics and orthodontics are my favorite disciplines!

My vision is to have dental services reach to the remotest person in whatever way possible and alleviate pain in any community where God will place me to serve him.


My non-academic interests include playing chess, Scrabble, and keyboard in church.  Chess is my best activity. In 1996 I was the Kenyan national junior chess champion, I was the college chess champion during my time at Kenya Medical Training College from 2003-2006. And I have been the chess champion at Kampala International University since 2013. I love to try and challenge myself playing chess. I also love hanging out with the less privileged who often make me realize how blessed I am. Sometimes I help where I can to give any form of support.

I thank Dr. Bill Hunter and Dr. Ryan who have been relentless in ensuring that I excel in dental school by providing psychological and physical support in resourceful ways.

And thank you to all of the supporters of Hope Smiles reading this. You have allowed me to continue to pursue my dream. And I am getting close to achieving it!

Gradi Ellis