Smile Week kicks off at Universitas Academic Hospital

A little girl with a cleft lip who was given reconstructive facial surgery in 2016, courtesy of the Smile Foundation and Vodacom. Image: The Smile Foundation

The Smile Foundation hopes yet once again to make a difference by putting a smile on the faces of children who suffer from facial anomalies such as cleft lip and palate, facial paralysis and other conditions. This year, the foundation will be partnering with Vodacom and 11 children are set to benefit from reconstructive surgery this week alone. The eleven children range in age from just four months to 10 years, and will mostly have cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgeries done.

The Smile Foundation’s Operations Director, Moira Gerszt, says the donor support that the foundation received from Vodacom enabled them to transport the mothers and their children to the hospital, while also providing them with food and accommodation during the duration of the event. She also adds that these much-needed funds have also come in handy for extra consumables needed by the patients, in addition to specialised medical equipment.

Gerszt adds that the foundation depends on donor support and such funding enables them to be able to take on more children during the year as normally, they only have Smile Week but once during the year. Children that are chosen as beneficiaries are chosen by the surgeons that will be providing the surgery for free. The children are chosen based on the urgency to have the reconstructive surgery performed. She also adds that they must not have medical aid and should be able to be treated through the public health care system. Also, they must be between 0 and eighteen years of age.

Hospitals in partnership with the organisation are the academic hospitals. Gerszt adds that while the children benefit from the surgery in life-changing ways, partnering with student doctors from academic hospitals also ensures that the skills of these future surgeons are developed. The foundation is currently based in eight academic hospitals around South Africa, except in KwaZulu-Natal, due to financial and administrative challenges.

However, for more information, contact Smile Foundation on or 0861 276 453. Make a donation today! Help put a smile on a child’s face today! SMS “Smile” to 38413 to donate R10. Smile Week will be in Bloemfontein at the Universitas Academic Hospital from Monday, 6 February 2017 until Friday 10 February 2017.

Pulane Choane– BloemfonteinCourant