UPDATE: It’s now easier to register a child for Operation Smile Philippines. This can be done through text messaging, using any of the three cellphone service providers in the Philippines, namely Globe, Smart and Sun. Just text the following info: Patient’s name, age, birthdate, location, and specify if patient has cleft lip / cleft palate, both or others to any of these numbers:
- Globe : 09055580206
- Smart: 0929-3559866
- Sun: 0943-2337987
Anna* cried when her son was born. Those were not tears of joy, but of sadness. Her baby was born with a cleft palate (“ngongo” in Filipino).
“Bakit ganito ang anak ko?” (“Why is my child like this?”)
Perhaps many, if not all, parents of children born with facial deformities ask this question in anguish. These parents imagine a life of endless teasing, snide remarks and taunts aimed at their kids. How can they raise and protect their children in this cruel world?
Every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world, a child is born with a facial deformity, and faces a life of uncertainty.
Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity with roots in the Philippines, brings hope to these kids and their families by conducting medical missions around the world. The missions provide free reconstructive surgeries performed by international medical volunteers to children born with facial deformities, specifically cleft lips and cleft palates.
Operation Smile celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year with 10 missions in 9 sites across the Philippines in 3 weeks. Thousands of volunteers from 30 countries will participate in this homecoming called “The Journey Home.”
The schedule of “The Journey Home” will be as follows:
|25-31 October||OS-DSM Dental Mission in Davao|
|25-31 October||OS-DSM Cleft Surgical Mission in Davao|
|08-17 November||Naga City|
|08-17 November||San Fernando, Pampanga|
|08-17 November||Silay City, Negros Occidental|
|08-17 November||Cagayan de Oro City|
|22 November – 02 December||Sta. Ana, Manila (NCR)|
|22 November – 02 December||Dasmarinas, Cavite|
|22 November – 02 December||Cebu City|
|22 November – 02 December||General Santos City|
We can be part of this journey either by volunteering our time or giving a donation or both. Chatters Care for Kids, a SEC-registered non-profit organization, recently partnered with Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) to gather volunteers willing to participate in the missions. On July 1, the group held an orientation for volunteers at the Manila Cleft Care Center at Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila. More orientation and training sessions for medical and non-medical volunteers will be scheduled soon.
In a Philippine Star article, OSP President Mr. Roberto Manzano says that while “They (facial deformities) are not life-threatening, they are life devastating. From a life of hopelessness, we give them (the children) a life of opportunity.”
Give the gift of hope and help bring more beautiful smiles into the world by making a donation to Operation Smile Philippines here. For volunteering information, visit the OSP website or the Chatters Care for Kids site. Please spread the word about Operation Smile so that the medical missions can transform the lives of as many children as possible.
*not her real name
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