It has been a busy month for Ruel Foundation Give a Smile with surgery outreaches complete; one in Philippines and one in Fiji. You have been a big part in seeing over 40 kids with new smiles and it would not be possible with your support. Behind the scenes these outreaches take us far and wide to find the children who need help. Each outreach starts several months before it happens and involves meetings with governors, mayors and hospitals in the regions. We put the word out on the radio, on banners and use a combination of our database and visiting health centers to make sure these surgeries available to as many children as possible.
The day of the operations is, as our Philippines National Director Pauline Curtis-Smith says, "wonderful chaos!" It is full on with rechecking every child, admitting them and having them in the right place at the right times. There's often a shortage of beds in the hospital so working out how to fit everyone in makes for tricky work. This time around we had 42 children in the Philippines walk out with new smiles. Operations run over two days with everyone onboard until 10pm at night, then up again at 6am.
As well as their new smile, the children walk out with a soft toy and bible; the surgical wound is cleaned throughly and parents are given instructions on how to care for it and when to return for suture removal. But, it doesn't end there. Most of the children need a second or third operation so are kept in our database to follow up with.
All the 42 children from the end of March outreach are recovering well with no infections and great results. Christopher was one of the children, his mother told us she had seen the banner up advertising the surgeries and wanted to bring her son but sadly was unable to afford the transport - a p50 (US$1) cost. When he arrived at school on the day he was meant to have his pre check his teacher asked why he was at school and not at the check. Christopher told her that his mum had a baby and no money. Amazingly, his teacher decided to bring him herself so with his mom’s permission she not only brought him to the pre check, but to the operation itself and the post operation check. The results of the operation were so amazing all the teachers began to cry when Christopher showed them his new smile.
But there's more work to do! We have another outreach coming up in July and November. We will keep you updated with the details of these as we move into the year and would love any support you are able to provide.
Thank YOU once again for your support to make this happen!