Operation Smile in Action

I got the opportunity to see Operation Smile in Action here in Cambodia.

What is Operation Smilehttp://cambodia.operationsmile.org/

Operation Smile Cambodia volunteers repair childhood facial deformities such as cleft lip and palate and other facial injuries such as burns.

In Cambodia 1 in 300 children is born with some type of facial deformity. The estimate is that 20000+ people have un-treated clefts in Cambodia. This not only brings the physical difficulties (eating and breathing problems) but also the emotional problems due to the stigma that the condition may bring.

Each operation can cost a little as $250 US and can have a life changing effect for those with the condition.

I wanted to witness first hand the work of this NGO as I had heard lots of good reports from several of my friends who live here in Cambodia and volunteer their services to Op Smile when they are needed.

Many of  us take a smile for granted, we smile when we meet people, we smile when we are happy, it’s an almost automatic reflex. For a few people, due to injury or birth defects, this is difficult or impossible. They may find themselves alienated or outcast from society, people stare but don’t smile. Operation Smile tries, where possible, to make the facial features of those affected more acceptable to the person and as a bi-product, to others. Giving the gift of being able to smile.

Smiling through adversity : Shy but strong

Today was the day everyone who turned up was given a full assessment, and many people had arrived and were waiting surprisingly patiently, to be seen, fill in paperwork, see the doctor, and then wait some more, but it all seemed rather well-organized (for Cambodia) and the lines were moving at a reasonable rate.

Waiting patiently to be seen

Happy to wait

 

Students help out teaching about oral care and handing out toot brushes

Such strength in children

 

Some volunteers who make the process possible

People in general are good, I find, and will help support projects such as this financially, but without the professionals, Doctors, Nurses and lay supporters that give their time and expertise their support would be in vain.

 


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