Aoife's Rwanda Mission
"I recently returned from my first mission in Kigali, Rwanda. It was extraordinary. I have been very fortunate to have worked in different African countries on many occasions over the years but working with Operation Smile was really something. Having spent a long time working overseas, I returned to work in the South Infirmary in Cork last year. Within days of my return Operation Smile was mentioned to me when I had a chance meeting with two nurses I hadn’t seen in years and to whom I am now extremely grateful! I have had a great love of Africa since I was a child and a great love of working in Africa since I qualified as a nurse. When I researched Operation Smile I thought it was the answer to all my prayers having returned to Ireland."
"Within a short few days of posting my application I received a very positive and encouraging response from the very able and efficient Dublin office recommending I have a look at the mission schedule. When I understood I was being accepted to join the Operation Smile team I thought I might actually burst with happiness."
"The first trip to catch my attention from the schedule was the trip to Kigali, Rwanda. This surprised me greatly as years previously when I was leaving the refugee camps in Rwanda I doubted I would ever return. Yet as the office contacted me to see if I would be interested in joining this very mission, there was ever only going to be one answer. Weeks later, touching down in the land of a thousand hills, I was absolutely thrilled. I was very excited to have this unique opportunity to use my skills, with such a highly talented and committed team, doing the most positive work I could imagine."
"I loved the whole process involved, meeting the Rwandans who had travelled far and wide to be there with us, the beautiful children, their hopeful parents, the gathering of information for medical records, the screening process. The schedule announcement was carried out on an individual basis where we met each potential patient individually to say whether they were suitable for surgery or not, and to provide explanations and an opportunity for questions and information for those who were not. While this was also difficult and emotional, it was very dignified and it gave me hope as many of those who failed to meet the criteria for surgery, will meet it another time."
"I worked in the Recovery or Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Every single patient that came through touched my heart. Every time I witnessed a mother or father seeing their child with a repaired cleft lip for the first time it filled my heart with joy. I loved every single minute."
"Everything about Operation Smile impressed me. The efficiency and the organisation. The emphasis on teaching and training for sustainability. The teamwork and the strong work ethic amongst the team. And the diversity, the extraordinary people involved on every level."
"For me personally, working with Operation Smile provided a poignant reminder of what is truly important in life; the warmth and joy of connecting with others. We are capable of expressing so many emotions in many different ways but a smile is the most simple and pure expression of joy that we can share between us. Taking part in this mission, giving the gift of smiling to so many people and helping dreams come true (mine and theirs) was an incredibly uplifting experience for which I am so very grateful. I am really looking forward to my second mission!"
Aoife has recently just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo in June 2013 on her second medical mission.
Special Rail Discount For Friends Of Operation Smile
Irish Rail are offering friends of Operation Smile a 10% discount off on-line Intercity fares during the month of July.
• Go to www.irishrail.ie
• Select your journey and your seat.
• Input promotional code “OPS2360” on the payments page.
• You will receive 10% OFF the on-line fare.
• Print your Reservation Number.
• Collect your ticket at any Booking Office or ticket machine.
Where possible book rail seats 7 or more days in advance to take advantage of the CHEAPEST available online fares.
This promotional code will be live from Monday 17th June to Saturday 22nd June 2013.
Remember during these dates, tickets can be purchased up to 60 days in advance of travel on www.irishrail.ie
* Discount applies to all bookings, except special offers.
Wow what an amazing year so far!
Although times are tough all over, our supporters have really increased their fundraising efforts over the last few months. Without this tireless commitment our work simply would not be possible.
Right around the country men, women and children of all ages has been running, baking, waxing etc. for the Operation Smile cause and we would just like to say a big thank you to all who have helped make a difference to children’s lives in the developing world.
Here are a few examples of what has been going on to raise funds for Operation Smile so far this year.
Rwanda SmilesCreating a Cleft Free Rwanda!
Operation Smile is aiming to create the first-ever cleft-free country in Africa! Since 2009, we have worked with the government and key leaders in Rwanda on programs that have had an immediate impact for children living with clefts, improving access to basic medical care and safe surgery and providing hands on medical training to nearly 300 healthcare professionals. So much has been accomplished with 1,700 patients and over 1,000 cleft surgeries.
But we’re not done yet!
Operation Smile is expanding its current efforts in Rwanda and focusing on the following needs:
• Identify all children and adults in need of cleft treatment
• Provide free treatment and care to all Rwandans currently living in the country with unrepaired clefts
• Train local medical professionals and build the necessary infrastructure so they can provide continuous care for children with clefts.
Every child deserves to live in dignity. Operation Smile is committed to healing their smiles and saving lives in Rwanda and around the world.
Flora Women's Mini Marathon
This year's Mini Marathon realy was a great day with some 40,000 women taking to the streets of Dublin City for causes too many to count. As the sun split the rocks it just added to the atmosphere and good spirits!
While we were not the largest charity in attendance, through our colourful t-shirts and colourful attitude, Operation Smile truly made its presence felt!
All of us here at Operation Smile would just like to say a massive thanks to the ladies for taking time out of their bank holiday to do the marathon pn our behalf.
Without their help and commitment we simply could not get the fantastic life-changing surgeries to the children who so desperately need it most across the developing world.
Africa Day 2013
Over 30,00 visitors basked in the summer sunshine as they celebrated Africa Day 2013 in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday May 26th.
Among the African food, music and culture was the Operation Smile Ireland stall featuring with pride of place in the 'African Bazaar'.
The Op Smile stand was one of the most interactive and was a real hit with the throngs of children, of numerous nationalities, who enjoyed the activities provided.
Africa Day 2013 was truly a testament to how much African culture is respected and appreciated in Dublin and indeed the country as a whole. A special thanks has to do out to Irish Aid who support the event.
Operation Smile Ireland Welcomes New Communications Assistant
Breaking news out of the Irish headquarters of Operation Smile today as there is a new arrival joining the team. Availing of the government’s Jobbridge internship scheme, Wicklow lad Patrick O’Gorman, began his 9 month stint as a communications officer for Operation Smile Ireland.
Brimming with excitement, the 23-year old University College Dublin graduate, had this to say, ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to begin working for such a well respected organisation that has accomplished so much and still thrives for more in bringing smiles to the faces of children across the globe’. Paddy, as he is usually referred, went on to add that he has met with tremendous welcome and enthusiasm from all his new colleagues within the Operation Smile team in Dublin, ‘I feel like I’ve been here for ages, and the passion that the guys here in the office have for their work is infectious and has really got me excited to get started’.
“We are delighted to have Paddy in the office with us. I’ve no doubt that he will be a great asset to Operation Smile Ireland” said In-Country Manager, Mairéad O’Callaghan. So, for the next 9 months it’s up to avid sports fan Paddy to take the bull by the horns and take full advantage of this great opportunity of working with Operation Smile in helping brighten up the lives of countless kids all over the world, and equally we look forward to seeing to seeing the fresh ideas that he undoubtedly will bring with him as he travels on the DART every morning.
Student Programme Update
Operation Smile Ireland is very proud of our student supporters and boy have they been busy over the last six months. Here’s some information on what they’ve been up to recently...
Student Leadership Conference – July 2012
Operation Smile student supporters at the Student Leadership Conference, University of Limerick 2012
The University of Limerick didn’t know what hit it when 60 of our young leaders from Ireland and the UK descended on campus in July for our Student Leadership Conference. The conference fosters an ethos of volunteerism in young people between 14 and 18 and encourages them to develop their leadership skills and to channel them to make the world a better place through volunteerism. The theme for this year’s conference was “What’s Your Story?” and students were encouraged to look within themselves and recognise and develop their own unique qualities and potential. Speakers included Dr. Tony Humphries, Psychologist, Cillian Fennell, Television Producer and Communications Consultant, Paula Mullin, Executive and Communications Coach and Paul Adamson, Professional Skipper and Motivational Speaker.
“Our students are such an important part of who we are at Operation Smile and we continue to be in awe of their abundant energy and potential. Congratulations to all of our students who participated in the conference this year ” Mairéad O’Callaghan, In-Country Manager Operation Smile Ireland
Four Irish students selected for medical missions in 2012!
Aoife Conway and Orlagh Hynes from Loreto Secondary School, Clonmel on medical mission in Accra Ghana, July 2012
We were very proud to have had four Irish students selected to attend mission training in the United States this year. Each year Operation Smile selects the best of our student supporters from all over the world to attend a mission training workshop that prepares them to travel on an overseas medical mission with Operation Smile. In January 2012, Aoife Conway and Orlagh Hynes from Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel travelled to Norfolk, Virginia to attend their mission training workshop and have since travelled to an Operation Smile medical mission in Accra, Ghana in July, where they educated the local population on subjects such as oral hygiene and nutrition. In July Cormac Looby and Fionn McCan from Rockwell College in Cashel attended mission training in Washington D.C. and are due to travel on medical mission to Bhubaneswar, India in November. Being accepted on this prestigious training course is very competitive and we want to congratulate our students on their achievements – they continue to make us very proud!
Awareness and FUNdraising
We want to give a shout out to some of our student supporters who’ve spread the good word of Operation Smile and fundraised for us over the past couple of months. Although we greatly appreciate the help they give us with fundraising it is their positive advocacy of Operation Smile that means the most to us. They show us everyday how powerful young people can be in changing the world.
Well done to our student club at St. Brigid’s in Callan, Co. Kilkenny who worked really hard spreading awareness and raising funds last year. Our In-Country Manager, Mairéad O’Callaghan, was delighted to visit last spring to say thanks and have a presentation with the girls. Thanks, also, to Miss O’Meara and Mr. Power for their support.
Well done to Grace and Conor Cosgrove from Mount Merrion in Dublin who represented Ireland at the International Student Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. in August 2012. They were great ambassadors for our Irish student programme to their global peers.
... Cliona Sheehy from Presentation Secondary School in Thurles who organised a group of her friends to participate in the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon on behalf of Operation Smile Ireland.
... James Orr from Sandford Park School in Dublin who ran the Connemarathon and organised a no uniform day at school to raise awareness and funds for Operation Smile.
...Donald Abuka from Drimnagh Castle Secondary School who hosted a no uniform day at school to raise awareness for Operation Smile.
Newly Formed Medical Council
October 1st 2012 marked the inaugural meeting of the Medical Council of Operation Smile Ireland. Chaired by Professor Michael Earley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, and composed of representatives from each specialty on our medical missions, the Council will provide a valuable support for our volunteers who travel overseas. Among its responsibilities are the recruitment and credentialing of new volunteers and the support of active volunteers of Operation Smile Ireland. It will provide a valuable link between Operation Smile Ireland and the Medical Oversight Committee of Operation Smile International keeping us up to date on all medical developments within the organisation and providing feedback from Irish volunteers. It will advocate the work of Operation Smile among the medical community in Ireland and act as a medical voice for the organisation to the public. Professor Earley will represent the Council on the Board of Directors of Operation Smile Ireland and, on behalf of the Council, advise the Board on all issues pertaining to our mission volunteers and our medical activities in the developing world.
"We are delighted to inform everyone that we held the inaugural meeting of the Operation Smile Ireland Medical Council on October 1st 2012.This is now a forum for representatives from all specialties to discuss all matters pertaining to volunteers and missions which are then reported to the Board." Professor Michael Earley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Medical Council Chairperson
Winter Mission Training!!
Operation Smile is now accepting applications from students for Winter Mission Training. Please click on the link below and scroll down to the bottom of the page for details on terms and conditions and how to apply.
Please be aware of the costs associated with Mission Training and travelling on mission for Operation Smile Ireland students (* subject to exchange rate):
MTW Registration Fee: $275 (*E210)
Airfare to MTW: E1000 (estimated cost)
Team Fee: E400
Mission Supplies: E50-150
Application and letters of recommendation must be scanned and emailed by November 1, 2012 to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to application:
Please call Mairéad at 01 6676659 or email email@example.com with any questions