In developing countries, children with unrepaired clefts are ostracized from society, suffering a life of shame and isolation. In Uganda, for instance, a child born with a cleft is given the name "Ajok," which literally translates to "cursed by God"; the new born is either killed immediately or left out to die. Parents fail to realize that a simple surgery could easily correct such a birth defect, or they are too poor to afford it. That's where the Smile Train comes in: the nonprofit organization trains local surgeons across the globe to give cleft lip surgeries to children for free.
That's a lot of free smiles, people.
This July, I plan to travel to the Ghana, where every 1 in every 700 children is born with a cleft, to volunteer alongside cleft surgeons at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a partner of Smile Train, in Kumasi, Ghana. There, I will be blogging for the Smile Train website, capturing the physical transformations of these anomalous children, both in words and in photography. Through my experience, I plan to shed light on a humanitarian cause that is universally under-recognized, in the hopes of raising even more money for those in need.
I am hoping to raise a total of $10,000, to help cover the costs of my travels (i.e. airfare, immunizations, travel insurance, tourist visa, food, housing, etc.) and to raise as much money as possible for Smile Train surgeries. $250 translates to one cleft surgery, one changed life, one new smile!
Please help support my travels and support those who aren't blessed with a proper smile. Say yes to my Smile Initiative- because we can change the world, one smile at a time!
Watch my interview with CBS Channel 10 Tampa News!
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