By Hananeel C. Bordey
The world’s largest cleft charity celebrated World Smile Day in honor of the people who contributed to their cause and helped change the lives of children born with untreated clefts in the Philippines last October 5 at I’M Hotel, Makati City.
SmileTrain Philippines held the thanksgiving event to recognize local partner hospitals and medical professionals for their commitment in providing free repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children with clefts and also, to their corporate partners and donors who continuously support and help in generating awareness for the organization.
“Since 2001, Smile Train has performed close to 50,000 cleft surgeries in the Philippines. This would not have been possible without our local partners who are committed to helping children with clefts and our donors who continue to believe in our cause,” says Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Country Director for Smile Train Philippines.
During the gathering, the organization recognized their partners including, the Craniofacial Foundation of the Philippines, the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation of the Philippines and the Philippine Band of Mercy (PBM) who just recently received recognition for surpassing 20,000 cleft surgeries since their partnership began with Smile Train in 2002.
Meanwhile, Smile Train’s Team EMPOWER athletes were also honored for their participation in the IRONMAN 70.3 competition held in Mactan, Cebu and Smile Train’s ambassadors of Beyond Yoga who participated in the first “Yoga for Smiles Challenge” in the country.
Also, GLAD wraps and bags is one of the recognized partners for their continued commitment and support in helping children with clefts in the Philippines through their Glad-To-Give Smiles campaign.
“We are pleased that more people and companies are becoming involved in our endeavor to reach more children with clefts harness the power of a smile,” adds Flaviano. “It doesn’t take a lot for people to get involved in our cause – it can be as simple as sharing news about Smile Train to their circle of friends and families – which goes a long way.”
After the program, The Bleu Rascals, an internationally-awarded blues-rock band, whose lead vocalist and guitarist, Paul Marney Leobrera, was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, performing his best to show the people that his situation will not hinder his success in life as long as he will keep the right attitude and support.
Moreover, SmileTrain is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. The organization helps millions of children in developing countries with untreated clefts, who experiences difficulties in eating, breathing and speaking.
With the help of their partner corporations and hospitals, the foundation provides training, funding and resources to empower local doctors in more than 85 countries to offer free cleft repair surgeries and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.