$825 Grant Sponsors 3 Cleft Surgeries for Children in Guatemala and Ethiopia
We were researching organizations that provide medical surgeries for children, and stumbled upon a wonderful organization called FreeToSmile (FreeToSmile.org). This non-profit organizes teams of medical volunteers to perform cleft surgeries as well as dental care in Niger, Tibet, Ethiopia, Guatamala, and Cambodia. The organization is run very efficiently, and its operating expenses are minimal. And so we reached out to them, as we were interested in sponsoring some cleft procedures.
The cost to sponsor cleft surgeries is $275 per procedure. Our grant amount was for $825, which sponsored 3 surgeries, 2 of which were in Guatemala, and 1 which was in Ethiopia. FreeToSmile’s communication with us to provide updates on the surgeries was excellent. Below you can view some photos they sent of the work.
As for the Guatemala mission, the first photo is of Angel, who is 4 months old. The second photo is of Carlos, who is 5 months old. They come from the rural regions of the country, and travel anywhere from 5 – 15 hours by busses and/or pickup trucks to get to Patzun, where the surgeries are performed. Most of the patients live off $1.00 per day. While the surgeries are free, the families lose money as they are with their child for the week and not working. During this trip, the cleft lips were fixed. Both of these children will return on future trips to get their cleft palates fixed as well.
And the third photo is of a 5 month old boy from Ethiopia named Baby, who is filled with personality! His Cleft lip was repaired, and his palate will be repaired during their next return to Ethiopia during the spring or fall of next year.
We are very impressed with the work of FreeToSmile, and hope to work with them again on future grants.