The partnership will support our work providing safe surgery for children born with a cleft condition around the world. Children like Sidonie from Madagascar who spent much of her childhood crying as a result of the teasing she endured. Her parents had no knowledge of cleft conditions and thought they would never be able to help Sidonie due to the cost of surgery.
But when they heard about Operation Smile and travelled to a medical mission they were shocked to see hundreds of other children with the same condition. Following the free surgery, Sidonie’s new life has begun – she is making new friends at school and loves her favourite subject Maths.
Through our worldwide network of medical volunteers, including many from the UK, Operation Smile provides free, safe and effective surgery for thousands of children across the world each year, changing the trajectory of their futures and providing them with opportunities in life that living with an unrepaired cleft would limit.
Cleft is the world’s fourth most common birth defect and our own NHS medical professionals volunteer their time and expertise for these children who deserve the same chance in life, wherever they are. Annemieke is an NHS paediatric intensivist and a member of the Operation Smile UK medical subcommittee. She has volunteered for many medical missions, travelling to Cambodia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa, Jordan, China, Honduras, Paraguay, Malawi, Vietnam and Madagascar.
“Working in hospitals with extremely limited resources (no basic medications, electricity, fresh water) has reinforced how fortunate I am to have a safe home, access to medical care, clean water and food. I have never needed to question these things as a child, adult or as a medical professional working in the UK.”
By supporting Operation Smile, A S Watson will help more children like Sidonie receive the surgery they otherwise have no access to.