Smile Train Partner Yemen Smile Pushes On Despite Crisis, Offers Hope

Sana’a, Yemen — Smile Train partner Yemen Smile is facing what is perhaps the greatest challenge any Smile Train partner has faced. Our remarkable surgeon, Dr. Bona Lotha and his team, predominantly work in the capital of Sana’a, but also travel throughout the Arab world’s poorest country to host surgical cleft camps. Previously, we reported on Dr. Lotha’s team and their amazing ingenuity, as the turmoil in Yemen has deepened, the team has heroically continued to press on in ever worsening conditions.

Dr. Lotha and his anesthesiologist, Wahed, recently traveled back to the city of Yarim to provide more free cleft surgeries to children and sent us this email upon their return:

Just had a miraculous escape from our cleft camp this week in Yarim hospital where we operated on 12 cleft kids and during our time there a battle suddenly broke out between the rogue military units in Sana’a. We tried to rush back home but all roads to Sana’a were closed by the army and we got stuck in Yarim til yesterday night; this morning they had a 12 hour ceasefire and the army allowed the two of us to reach Sana’a by special security permission.

There is unrest all across Yemen.

We managed to complete till now a total number of 456 cleft surgeries(since Jan 2010) and will continue. The Jibla camp is postponed for now..work to resume when things calm down…only 12 kids could be operated over 3 days because of the crisis…

We are happy to be alive and our families are well and safe.”

Our deepest thanks and concerns to Dr. Lotha, Wahed, and the rest of his team for their incredible work and providing smiles and hope during such difficult times. Please keep our partners, patients, and their families, especially those whose countries are filled with political strife and turmoil, in your thoughts and prayers.

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