Operation Smile is an international medical charity, with a global network of thousands of medical volunteers, committed to improving the health and lives of children from over 60 countries. To date they have provided more than 240,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Since 1982, they have worked with local medical professionals, governments, hospitals and non-governmental organisations to establish care centres to give children ongoing medical treatment. Operation Smile also provides training and education for local medical professionals, enabling them to provide care within their own communities and help others around the world.
At The Harley Medical Group we are privileged to share momentous journeys in the lives of our patients. At the beginning they often feel self-conscious and unhappy with their appearance. Throughout their time with us we develop a relationship of trust and understanding. At the end we see the joy in their faces when our patients see their results. Without a doubt that life-changing reveal is our favourite part – a new beginning.
Operation Smile Vision
As part of your care experience with The Harley Medical Group, we hope you consider making a donation to Operation Smile and together we can help give a smile for life and renewed hope to as many children as we possibly can all around the world.
Please visit Operation Smile to find out more about their invaluable efforts and how you can help improve the health and lives of children through access to safe surgery.
Valeska’s Story – “People laughed at my baby"
Shocked and heartbroken when her baby Valeska was born with a cleft lip, her mother Zorida was told by doctors that the procedure would be far too expensive to afford. Back at home, Zorida experienced ridicule from neighbors who blamed her for her daughter’s condition.
“People laugh at my baby,” Zorida said, “They taunt her and I hear others talking about her. They tell their children that she’s horrible and if they stare at her, they could look that way too.”
After 10 months of searching for affordable help for her baby, a call from the local hospital provided relief for the young family. Operation Smile was conducting a medical mission in EstelÃ — three hours away — and that free surgery was possible for Valeska.
In a single surgical procedure, Operation Smile volunteers repaired Valeska’s cleft lip, giving her a beautiful new smile in time for her first birthday. Since Valeska’s surgery, Operation Smile opened the doors of its new permanent cleft-care centre in Managua, Nicaragua in May 2016 providing free surgeries to the hundreds of children still waiting for treatment and follow up care to Operation Smile patients.
Enok’s Story – Overcoming Adversity
Enok remembers being jeered, mocked and having people recoil in disgust at his cleft lip. Enok had endured a lifetime of torment when he received surgery at 25 years old. Suffering from a severe bilateral cleft lip, Enok finally summoned the courage to seek help during an Operation Smile medical mission to Rwanda in 2013.
Though his surgical scars are almost invisible to the naked eye, his emotional scars continue to heal as this soft-spoken man recalled the daily struggles he once faced. “I walk to work from my home and before the surgery, I would take all sorts of detours and creep through people’s gardens and farms so that I could avoid being seen, children would either run away if they saw me or run behind shouting horrible things.”
“Before, everyone was scared of me. I couldn’t stand and talk to a girl, but now I can easily find a girl on the roadside and stand for a while and talk to her,” Enok explained as he grinned. “Nowadays I am a normal person in the community. I meet people and they talk to me like they would someone who has been there the whole time.”