Smile Train, Regional Director, South America Mariane Goes recently sent these words of gratitude to be shared with Smile Train supporters.
Hello Smile Train supporters,
I’m proud to say that Smile Train Brazil has increased the number of smiles we’ve created for the 10th straight year! Brazil is a vast country and many of its 207 million+ inhabitants live in poverty with limited access to medical care — yet, despite these challenges, Smile Train Brazil’s annual cleft surgery rate is only 550 smiles short of meeting the estimated average annual cleft births.
Our success is a testament to Smile Train’s sustainable ‘teach a man to fish’ model and the dedication of Smile Train supporters. By working together, I know we can meet our goal of bringing a new smile to every single poor child born with a cleft in Brazil.
For sustained growth, it’s important that we actively recruit talented partner surgeons. One such opportunity is during our annual Brazil Cleft Week, where young surgeons are invited to accompany some the best plastic surgeons in our country and learn the art and skill of cleft surgery in regions of Brazil with the highest need. More than 240 children have had cleft surgery during previous cleft weeks, and 20 apprentice surgeons have participated.
Another successful innovation, is our Smile Train Choir. In partnership with the Center for the Treatment of Cleft Lip Palate (CEFIL) and the Child Health Island Institute, the choir transforms the lives of children with clefts in Rio de Janeiro. Former cleft patients, of different ages and speech ability, participate in the choir and as an advanced form of speech therapy. Currently, the Smile Train Choir has 21 children under treatment.
Strong partnerships also help solidify Smile Train's name with patients and health professionals in Brazil. Throughout the year, Smile Train provides training, workshops, cleft surgery simulators, an annual conference, and involvement in Smile Train’s global activities such as World Smile Day®. Creating programs like these have improved our interdisciplinary cleft teams and made us a close-knit community.
I will end with this — thank you for helping our country. We’ve made steady progress, but together we can accomplish much more. It’s comforting to know that we can always count on your passion to our cause.
Smile Train, Regional Director, South America
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