Smile Train Partner in Brazil Wins Quality Award

Campinas, Brazil Smile Train partner SOBRAPAR BrazilSmile Train would like to congratulate SOBRAPAR Hospital on being selected amongst the top 10 of 630 hospitals in Sao Paulo state. A Smile Train partner since 2000, SOBRAPAR was selected as one of the best hospitals after a patient survey of over 200,000 participants throughout Brazil’s largest state.

Smile Train local staff cheer up patientsSOBRAPAR won this great honor for its excellent medical care, the quality of its facilities, and the outstanding treatment of its patients and their families. Over 1,300 children born with cleft lip and palate have been given new lives through Smile Train’s partnership with SOBRAPAR and this prestigious designation shows that the staff of the hospital remain dedicated to providing top quality cleft care. The hospital continues to be a key leader for Smile Train in South America, producing some of the finest cleft professionals in the world out of its training programs and researching how best to fully care for children born with cleft lip and palate.

Please join us in extending our congratulations and thanks to SOBRAPAR Hospital and all of the remarkable, surgeons, doctors, nurses, administrators, and staff for this prestigious recognition and their commitment to their patients and making sure every child can smile.

Smile Train local cleft team

1st Annual Michigan Adobo Cook Off for Smile Train

Grand Haven, MI –

Get your pots and pans ready and your stomachs growling.

The First Annual Michigan Adobo Cook Off for Smile Train is coming up in less than a month! Hosted by Matt and Luchi Nelson, all proceeds from the Adobo Cook Off will be donated to Smile Train to benefit children born with cleft lips and palates.

On August 27th, competitors will proudly showcase their culinary skills for the bragging rights that come with the title of Michigan’s Best Adobo chef. Lucky judges and attendees will be treated to amazing entries in both the classic style and modern creative twists to an old favorite.

Don’t know how to make the traditional Filipino dish? Check out the video below from Madeline Nelson and try your hand at a homemade delicacy:

While your Adobo is cooking, be sure to browse through these photos of lucky children who have been helped by Smile Train and remember that the proceeds of the Adobo Cook Off will be going to pay for free cleft surgery for others just like them.

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Smile Train Sponsored PAACLIP Conference in Africa

Kumasi, Ghana – Last week, nearly 300 cleft care providers from across Africa met to exchange ideas and learn about the latest in cleft care at the 4th Annual Pan African Association of Cleft Lip & Palate (PAACLIP) Scientific Conference. With the support of Smile Train and the dream of an association of local African partners working together to provide and improve quality cleft care throughout the continent, PAACLIP was started in 2007 with the help of Smile Train Medical Advisory Board member and world-renowned speech pathologist Dr. Linda D’Antonio.

Smile Train PAACLIP Conference in AfricaIn developing countries, one of the hardest tasks for Smile Train partners is combating the myths and superstitions that surround cleft lips and palates: proper awareness is even hard in the U.S. where July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness month. Creating proper awareness and discrediting superstitions has proven especially difficult in remote parts of Africa that have suffered from years and even decades of conflict. Luckily, through the dedicated efforts of Smile Train and PAACLIP members, awareness that clefts are repairable birth defects, not evil omens or curses from God, is on the rise and we are seeing more and more patients arrive at Smile Train partner hospitals each year.

PAACLIP Smile Train Conference Breakout SessionThe conference focused on strategies and opportunities to increase access to cleft lip and palate surgery and related services in Africa. As a whole, Africa has a shortage of qualified surgeons to provide cleft lip and palate surgery, placing innovative strategies for increasing the reach of current Smile Train partners and comprehensive training for new partners at the top of Smile Train’s priorities in Africa. PAACLIP has proven to be a fundamental building block to Smile Train’s expansion in Africa with a strong dedication to increased sustainability.

Let us solve African problems with us Africans.”

– Dr. Asrat Mengiste, newly appointed President of PAACLIP

Highlights of the conference include lectures from Smile Train Medical Advisory Board members Dr. Ethylin Wang Jabs on genetics and Dr. E. Heidi Jerome on anesthesia as well as Smile Train partners Dr. Adebola Adetokunbo (Nigeria), Dr. Jyotsna Murthy (India), and Dr. Roopa Nagarajan (India). Numerous Smile Train partners, hospital administrators, and leading professionals in the region presented best practices in follow up care in rural areas, delivery of speech services, outreach programs, and cleft awareness and community mobilization programs. The PAACLIP conference was a resounding success and was capped off by a tribute to Dr. D’Antonio for her efforts as well as the announcement of the new PAACLIP leadership, all of whom are Smile Train partners:

PAACLIP and Smile Train leadersDr. Asrat Mengiste – President (Ethiopia and Kenya)
Dr. Pius Agbernoku – Vice President (Ghana)
Dr. Meshach Onguti – Secretary General (Kenya)
Dr. Ashraf Emarah – Assistant Secretary General (Kenya)
Dr. Rose Alenyo – Treasurer (Uganda)
Dr. Peter Olaitan – Financial Secretary (Nigeria)
Dr. Edward Wayi – East African Representative (Tanzania)
Dr. Adebola Adetokunbo – West African Representative (Nigeria)
Dr. Saraiva Simao – South African Representative (Mozambique)
Dr. Emmanuel Crezoit – Francophone Representative
(Cote D’Ivoire)

Mother and Son Reunited

Plodiv, Bulgaria – All too often, children born with clefts are abandoned or left at orphanages. Many Smile Train partners have developed strong relationships with staff at local orphanages so that the children that in their care are able to receive free cleft lip and palate surgery. Smile Train patients have been adopted from orphanages throughout the world and received a chance for a life with a new, loving family. For the parents that leave their children with orphanages, the decision is never easy and they may think about it for every day the rest of their lives. For Anastassiya, it was no different.

Bilateral Cleft Lip and PalateAnastassiya knows all too well the hardships the world can thrust upon those who are different: she’s deaf. So when she gave birth to her only child, Denis, she was shocked to see that he was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, but overjoyed to see her beautiful son trying to smile at her. As a single mother who could not afford to pay for a surgery, Anastassiya was afraid that being deaf would put Denis in danger as she wouldn’t be able to hear his cries. She was scared that for a child who needed more attention and special care, there was the real possibility that because of her own disability, she would miss being there for Denis when he needed her most. She envisioned horrible scenarios where she was asleep, and unable to hear, his cries would go unanswered.

Bilateral Cleft Lip after SurgeryDespite the overwhelming desire to be with her child, after many hesitations, Anastassiya was forced by the circumstances to make the hardest decision of her life–to leave Denis with an orphanage.

She did her research and settled on leaving her son with an orphanage in the town of Sliven that she learned had a high adoption rate. When she arrived in Sliven, the staff of the orphanage told her of the Smile Train program at the Medical University (ALA) in Plovdiv. The orphanage helped her get to the hospital and to help alleviate her fears, offered Anastassiya a unique proposition. While Denis recovered from his surgery, he could stay at the orphanage where the staff could watch over him.

Denis and Anastassiya After Cleft Lip and Palate SurgeryDenis received Smile Train sponsored free cleft lip surgery and returned to the orphanage. For the next five months, Anastassiya spent every minute she could with him, knowing that her deafness would not put him at risk while she slept. Denis recently underwent a second Smile Train surgery to fix his cleft palate and this time, Anastassiya was able to take him home confident in their new life together.

Smile Train Sets New Record Year With 117,144 Surgeries

New York, NY – On July 1, 2011, Smile Train officially started our new Fiscal Year eclipsing our previous record for the number of free, safe, high-quality cleft lip and palate surgeries that we provided in a year. Everyone here at Smile Train is happy to announce that through the amazing work of our partner hospitals, surgeons, and medical staff we have successfully supported 117,144 free cleft surgeries to desperate children throughout the world…that’s over 320 cleft surgeries a day!

This past year saw many great accomplishments: our 650,000th surgery worldwide, the 20,000th surgery at G.S. Memorial Hospital in Varanasi, India, the start of pilot programs to provide even better follow-up care and speech pathology, and a host of new Smile Train partners including our first programs in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar. These accomplishments are the culmination of 117,144 miracles: 117,144 second chances at life created in Smile Train operating rooms.

In fact, Smile Train-supported surgeries are surpassing the estimated number of cleft births per year in Cambodia, Chile, Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, and Pakistan!

We would like to extend our deepest thanks to all of our remarkable partners, donors, staff, fundraisers, and supporters for all of their hard work and help in setting this amazing record. We still have a long way to go and many new programs and partners on the horizon, but this milestone will forever stand as a beacon of hope to the millions of children and adults that suffer with unrepaired clefts. Together, we can make sure that every child born with a cleft can have the same opportunities in life as a child born without one and share his or her smile with the world.

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