Free Cleft Surgery for 400 Poor Children in Brazil

$12,329 $77,671
Raised Remaining
5 month old boy before surgery
5 month old boy before surgery

My name is Melissa Balgley and I am traveling in Brazil this summer with my partner, Josh Niederman, visiting GlobalGiving projects throughout the country. 

During our time in Rio de Janeiro, we were lucky enough to be able to meet with Dr. Diogo Franco who works at University Hospital Fraga Filho, the hospital at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Franco could easily work just in the private sector, but he splits his time working between the private and public sector, which he finds more rewarding. Dr. Franco dedicates one day a week to performing cleft surgeries for children and adults. We were able to watch him operate on a 5-month-old boy, which was quite an experience. It was incredible to see how in only a few hours, the baby´s entire face was reconstructed. As a result of the surgery, this child will now be able to develop normal speech and be able to eat without problems. As the baby was resting in the recovery room with his mother, we ran into the boy´s father in the hall. He shook our hands and said, "First Jesus, than you". Watching Dr. Franco´s skill as well as the effects the surgery had, and will continue to have on the family, was a truly moving experience. 

Donations to this project are extremely important in Brazil. Even though Brazil has a very good healthcare system that pays for surgeries such as this one, necessary equipment isn't always available. Dr. Franco uses the money he receives to buy equipment such as pediatric breathing tubes and surgical equipment, but also for more basic things such as surgical scrubs. This is so surgeries can run more smoothly, because the public hospital has limited resources, which also means limited scrubs. Sometimes by the afternoon all of the scrubs are dirty, so surgeries are delayed until the next day, or sometimes until the next week! This is difficult for families that have to travel long distances to the hospital in Rio de Janeiro. By using donations from GlobalGiving, Dr. Franco is able to avoid delays in surgeries to be able to help as many people as possible. 

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this project because not only was it clear that is was greatly helping the children and their families, but it was easy to see how donations are making a difference. Also, it was inspiring to see the Dr. Franco´s dedication to his patients. To be compared to Jesus is something that I will never forget, but it isn't me that the baby´s father should have been thanking- it´s you the donor! Thank you so much for your continued support to this project.

Smile Train Brazil has provided 7,777 free surgeries and has added two new partners since September 2010.  Since 1999, Smile Train has provided over 600,000 surgeries worldwide.  This year, we will give 120,000 children new smiles and a second chance at life.   

Smile Train China is one of our largest programs.  We have performed 216,465 cleft lip and palate surgeries for poor children in China.  In addition, we have Smile Train grant programs in 85 different hospitals. This year, we funded the  7th Smile Train Cleft Lip & Palate Symposium that was held in Xiamen on December 1st-4th, 2010.  There were 1,500 Smile Train partners from China in attendance. 

Smile Train partners have been very busy in Brazil this past year! In addition to adding 11 new partners, Smile Train has performed 2,164 surgeries this year, bringing our total number of surgeries in Brazil up to 7,277. In addition, we have provided over $190,000 in grants to our local partners. Thank you for helping us to provide life changing surgery to children in Brazil!

These two Smile Train partner hospitals have been added in past few months and are already helping children:

Hospital Infantil Albert Sabin Associacao Beija-Flor FUNFACE Dr. Francisco Alves Teixeira Plastic Surgeon Av Alberto Craveiro 2222 Bairro Castelao Ceara Fortaleza Brazil 60861-212 Tel: 00 55 8530683900

Hopital CERLAP Uniao Brasileira de Educasao e Asistencia Mr. Clotet Av. Ipiranga 6681 Predio 1, Sala 205 Porto Alegre Rio Grande do Sul Brazil 00 55 5133203660 Surgeon: Dr. Helena Wilhelm de Oliveira

- 14 hospitals received special ancillary grants (total = $190,000) in May so that they could help children receive follow up speech, orthodontic, and dental care.

- Our partner, Hospital Martagao Gesteira, in Salvador, Bahia received a grant to host a regional cleft surgical meeting this October, 2010. This meeting will give surgeons in the region the opportunity to collaborate and improve their skills.

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Project Leader

Adina Wexelberg-Clouser

Donor Relations Associate
New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Free Cleft Surgery for 400 Poor Children in Brazil