Ellen & Mika's Story Student volunteers share their view!
We recently returned from our Operation Smile medical mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We
went as student volunteers. It was a life changing experience for both of us.
We first became involved when we were 14, when we attended our first student leadership conference in Limerick. We made friends from around the world and we were inspired to act in our local communities. Speakers talked to us about how to make a positive change both in our own lives and the lives of others. It was cool to see how involved students can be with Operation Smile. Since our first conference, we’ve both been to two more conferences, one in Ireland and one in Norfolk, Virginia in the US. Last summer we applied and were accepted to travel on a medical mission with Operation Smile and we received mission training last summer. We were so excited!
On our mission we were lucky enough to see the impact of Operation Smile first hand. Our main role was to play and teach. What could be better than spending the day playing with the most inspirational kids ever?! Many families we met had traveled for three days just to have the chance for their child to receive surgery. We shadowed doctors, helped nurses in the ward and learnt to work with translators to reassure families whose babies were having surgery. Most importantly we taught the families and patients on our medical mission about oral hygiene, nutrition, preparing clean water and more. It was amazing to see a child with a cleft lip go into surgery and 45 minutes later to see them come out with a brand new smile and their lives changed forever. It definitely changed our lives forever! Thank you Operation Smile!
- Mika Egan & Ellen Kelly, 5th year students in Loreto College, St. Stephen’s Green
Out and About for Operation Smile!
Earlier this year we launched our Miles for Smiles initiative and our Smile Ambassador programme inviting everyone to get out and raise funds and awareness for Operation Smile.
And what a response it was! We would just like to thank all our miles for smilers and smile ambassadors! With your help we'll make Operation Smile Ireland a household name one community at a time!
The Change Forever BallOperation Smile Ireland celebrates 10 Years
2013 marked Operation Smile Ireland’s 10th Anniversary and we celebrated in style with over 300 of our volunteers and supporters at The Change Forever Ball in Dublin this October.
We were honoured to have Operation Smile Co-Founders Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee in attendance, as well as Joe Costello T.D., Minister of State for Trade and Development and his wife Emer Costello MEP.
The night was a fantastic celebration of the many people who support Operation Smile Ireland, but a few were singled out for their contributions. Philanthropist and long time global supporter, Chuck Feeney, received the “Impact Award” for his “Compassionate Call to Action”. Chuck’s spirit of giving has set a global example of philanthropic support for not for profit enterprise. Long time volunteer, Anne McGovern, received the award for “Outstanding Commitment and Volunteerism”, and accountant, Liam Hession, BDO, received the award for “Service Beyond the Call of Duty” for his pro bono accounting services over the years.
We would like to thank all of you who supported The Change Forever Ball. A great night was had by all and it really marked our anniversary in style!
STUDENTS! WE NEED YOU!
This is Phoebe, she's an American student about to start her first year of college at UCD and she's looking for students from around the country to help her spread the word about the good work of Operation Smile!
Do you want to help change the world, have fun and meet new friends at the same time?
So if this sounds like you, and you want to increase the Operation Smile presence on your campus then email Phoebe for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.