Trip Report: Dhaka, Bangladesh
This March Alliance for Smiles completed its third visit to the Dhaka Shishu Hospital. The mission was led by Tina Hollcroft and included 18 medical and nonmedical volunteers. Forty-nine patients received a total of 83 surgeries, despite a nation-wide strike and civil unrest.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of the volunteers and everyone who donated, including the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, Wilber Breseman, and those who contributed in memory of Hal Hollcroft. We would like to thank the following Rotary Clubs: Greene and Putnam Counties, Hall County, Helen, Toccoa, Gainesville, White County, Loganville, Cherokee, Canton, South Forsyth, Monroe NC, San Francisco, and Gulshan Lake City. We would also like to thank Rotary Districts 6910 and 3280, District 6910 Governor Margie Eddy-Forbes, and the US Embassy in Bangladesh. A special thank you is extended to Tina Hollcroft and Barbara Fisher, who tirelessly worked on the fundraising that made this mission possible. Without their leadership and hard work, the mission would not have taken place.
This year, we were fortunate that Tricia Spivey, a PACU nurse from Georgia, kept a blog during the entire mission. This above and beyond effort by Tricia allowed a rare glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of the team. A sample of her blog:
The sheer delight with life on this little boy’s face was quite evident. His smile was infectious. By the time he had been approved for surgery and admitted to the hospital he was giving me high fives, voluntarily sitting in my lap and giving me hugs and kisses. All the while with the sweetest smile on his face. He was one of the easier surgeries. A lip repair. Nothing dramatic. Simple for the team. Life changing for him. His surgery went smoothly and he came to the PACU. He woke up easily and had very little pain. As we were getting ready to take him to the ward I held a mirror up so he could see himself. The instant emotion that passed through his golden eyes said what words could not. It was the realization that his face was now like all the other kids.
There is still so much to be done for the children of Bangladesh and other countries around the world. Please donate to help us fulfill our mission. Visit www.allianceforsmiles.org or call 415-647-4481 to donate or learn how you can help.
Thanks for Supporting the AfS Gala!
Alliance for Smiles held its 8th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Gala on January 26th, 2013. The event was a huge success; almost $75,000 was cleared on the event thanks to the support of our volunteers and donors.
Among those honored were Barbara Fisher, who received the Distinguished Service Award; Tina Hollcroft, who received the Volunteer of the Year Award; and Burton Berry, who is the first recipient of the John Uth Memorial Award for significant financial support.
Alliance for Smiles was honored to host 3 members of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, including Deputy Consul Song Ru’An, who spoke at the event. Deputy Consul Ru’An lauded the work that AfS is doing in China, saying “You have established a good reputation in many provinces and cities where you have conducted medical missions during the past eight years, repairing over 2000 broken smiles with your magic skills.”
Alliance for Smiles would like to thank the W Hotel, the Chinese Consulate of SF, Entire Productions, and everyone who volunteered, donated or attended. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Ongoing AfS Fundraisers
If you have a car that you no longer want, consider donating it! Donate for Charity is a national organization that will pick up the car, running or not, and give the proceeds of the sale to us! For more information simply call 866-392-4483.
If you live in the Bay Area, Community Thrift in San Francisco is another way to help out while cleaning out your closet. Simply take your used clothes and household goods to the store, located at 623 Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, and tell them you want the proceeds of the sales to go to Alliance for Smiles. You can also bring items to the Alliance for Smiles office.
Do you have a birthday, wedding, or housewarming coming up but don’t know what to give as a gift? Purchase some wine! Mark Gendron of JK Estates has promised to donate $50 from every case of wine sold to our supporters. You can even have a custom label designed for your event! Cases range from $110 to $128, and wine can also be purchased by the bottle.
If you’re looking for a way to help Alliance for Smiles in a fun and personalized way, consider holding a Dining for Smiles event! Past events have included a wine tasting, an African-themed dinner, a scarecrow stuffing party and the ever-popular Superbowl party. Contact the Alliance for Smiles office at (415) 647-4481 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We will be more than happy to send you printed materials, posters, banners and more!
Need a last minute gift for a friend or family member? Donate to Alliance for Smiles in their honor! The recipient will receive a card from AfS, personalized with your message, and you will receive a tax deduction. For more information please contact email@example.com or call (415) 647-4481.
Our Partnerships In China
When Alliance for Smiles goes on a mission, we need to work with on site partners to find the hospital, complete patient screenings, and deal with obtaining temporary medical licenses and customs clearances. Since our first days our primary resource in China has been the China Population Welfare Foundation (CPWF). The hospital provides facilities, medical equipment and staff support, all of which are integral to the missions. However, cooperation with the local government through CPWF is essential to recruit and screen potential patients.
Too often we have heard the story of parents who have been told not to return to their village with a child whose cleft has not been repaired. That is why education by the local government about the way Alliance for Smiles can change lives is fundamental.
During the November mission to Zunyi a campaign was conducted by the State Family Planning Association to survey the various counties in the GuiZhou Province and provide an approximate count of unrepaired cleft lip and palate cases. As a result, 1200 cases were registered, and a plan to treat these cases was developed. AfS in partnership with CPWF and the Family Planning Commission of China, as part of the “Happy Smiles” project, are committed to provide free surgery for this backlog of cases in three years.
In many sites, the local city mayor and council are extremely supportive. In ZunYi the Vice Mayor, Madam Lian-na Li, is dedicated to the project and visited the team at the hospital expressing gratitude for AfS’ work and dedication to helping the children of the province.
AfS Honored by US Embassy in Bangladesh
Alliance for Smiles is pleased to count the Honorable Dan Mozena, United States Ambassador to Bangladesh, as one of our supporters. His Honor was the special guest at the closing ceremony in Dhaka, and he thanked us for our work in Bangladesh via email:
You should be so proud of the work that Alliance for Smiles has done here in Bangladesh. At the closing ceremony, I spoke of the power of the smile and of the fact that thanks to the good work of Alliance for Smiles, 49 young Bangladeshis have now for the first time in their lives the ability to smile…such a small thing, yet such a huge thing, such a life changer, such a legacy that you leave.
The US Embassy in Bangladesh was instrumental in the success of the mission, including reaching out to potential patients on Facebook and assistance during the hartal (strike).