Father Christmas is not the only person to bring Smiles to Children's faces this Festive Season
Cape Town, South Africa;
This year, Christmas will come early for 34 Western Cape children.
This is thanks to Vodacom and Smile Foundation, who will sponsor facial reconstructive surgery during Vodacom Smile Week, held from 19 - 23 November at Tygerberg Hospital.
Says Moira Gerszt, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Smile Foundation, "It's wonderful to be one of Santa's little helpers this Christmas. Vodacom has given us the ability to make wishes come true." Gerszt continues, "This Smile Week is one of our biggest for the year and just in time for the festive season. It's the perfect gift - not only a brand new face, but also an opportunity at life that they would ordinarily not have due to the stigma attached to these conditions."
According to Gerszt, one of the Foundation's main concerns regarding Western Cape children with facial conditions is that parents aren't aware their child's condition can be treated through surgery. "Parents still hide their children away from communities and these children are still being ostracized by their peers," says Gerszt.
Says Maya Makanjee, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs at Vodacom, "Besides our commitment to help make quality healthcare accessible for all South Africans, we are also deeply committed to doing what we can to make people smile. By supporting a project like Vodacom Smile Week, we are able to fulfil our commitment and also play an active role in changing a child's future for the better."
Currently, one in 750 South African children is born with a facial condition.
The Smile Foundation has been partnering with academic hospitals in South Africa for over 11 years to assist underprivileged children with facial conditions, alleviating backlogs in the hospitals, encouraging skills transfer, offering psychological help before and after surgery and supporting hospital infrastructure.
The success of the Smile Week model has been widespread. To date, over 1000children have benefited from surgeries around the country through the partnership with state academic hospitals.
The surgeries will be done during Vodacom Smile Week held at Tygerberg hospital from 19 - 23 November.
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