• Giving children with cleft lips and palates a reason to smile

    Johnderwas born in the Muslim Badjao tribe on the islands of Sulu where cleft lips, acut on the lip; cleft palates, a hole in the roof of the mouth; and otherdisabilities are a common sight due to lack of access to healthcare. Hisparents would have been content to live a quiet life in their little coastalcommunity until one day, they heard that they could get a free surgery to fixJohnder’s condition.

    The family moved to the outskirts of Davao City,building their own home on stilts, this time on trash-filled canal watersconnected to the main road by flimsy man-made bridges reminiscent of theircoastal roots. Their living conditions have been difficult, with Johnder’sfather earning only a small living selling knock-off signature sunglasses, butamidst all these challenges, his mother recounts their story with light andhope in her eyes.

    Now a seven-year-old boy with a newly-operatedlip who just started to attend school, Johnder no longer lives in fear of beingbullied by his classmates. Instead, he races across their wobbly bridgeseveryday, excited to go to school with his siblings and friends.

    Twenty more children like Johnder were given new hope by Globe Telecom and Smile Train, an international children’scharity whose vision is to ensure that every child born with a cleft can lead afull and productive life.

    From the goodwill of its employees, customers,and partners, Globe was able to raise enough funds to support comprehensivecleft care for at least 20 children through Smile Train.

    “Globe always makes it a point to give back tothe communities so we continue to partner with different non-governmentorganizations to help in social and environmental causes. This promptedus to tap Smile Train as a strategic partner in the promotion of good healthand well-being especially among disadvantaged Filipinos,” said Miguel Bermundo,Director for Globe Citizenship and Advocacy Marketing.

    “Smile Train is grateful for being a charitypartner of Globe. By providing customers and their employees anopportunity to support our cause, many Filipinos born with a cleft have beengiven a second chance at life,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train, AreaDirector, Smile Train Southeast Asia

    At present, one in every 700 babies worldwideare born with a cleft lip and/or palate, forcing many of them to live inisolation while having difficulties in eating, breathing, and speaking.

    However, cleft repair surgery is simple andtransformation is immediate, thereby, encouraging Smile Train to provideresources that will empower local doctors in over 90 countries to offer100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their owncommunities.
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