Trip Report: Bijie and Xingyi, China
Two thousand and thirteen is shaping up to be a busy year for Alliance for Smiles’ efforts in China. So far this year we have already completed two missions there: the first in April to Bijie, and the second in May to Xingyi. We previously visited Bijie in September of 2012, and this year we retuned to complete 78 surgeries on 68 of the patients we did not have time for previously. This was our first visit to Xingyi, an ethnically diverse city in the Guizhou province. During this mission 80 procedures were performed on 67 children.
From VP for China Affairs and frequent mission volunteer Colin Wong:
I have been volunteering for Alliance for Smiles for a long time and have seen many lives changed, smiles restored, but seldom had the chance to visit a child at his home and school to actually see how we have affected the change.
On this mission I had the chance to travel an hour and a half by car on the freeway, and another 45 minutes by car on a bumpy, narrow road, and then hike down a valley on a steep windy, muddy, rocky trail for 45 minutes and over an hour to hike back up to visit an 11 year old boy at his home.
Wang BingLang had a cleft lip, and no one wanted to be his friend; his classmates ridiculed him and beat him up for 10 long years. He was very depressed, self conscious, no self respect and very much a loner. Every day he climbs from his home from the bottom of the valley, rain or shine, for 45 minutes to go to school and then hike down the valley to go home and help his parents in the fields after school.
The family lives off the land with very poor soil, growing corn which produces one crop per year, and whatever vegetables, chickens and pigs they can raise.
Please look at his eyes in the before and after photographs and notice the difference. His eyes in the before photo showed despair and hopelessness and the second photo speaks for itself.
His family is the poorest of the poor, and I am so privileged to be able be part of the Alliance for Smiles team to bring the family some happiness and give Wang BingLang a chance to lead a normal life for the future.
We would like to thank Mission Director Quentin Li, VP of China Affairs Colin Wong, the China Population Welfare Foundation, the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, the Truebless Trust, all medical and nonmedical volunteers, and everyone who donated or supported our efforts.
There is still so much to be done for the children of China and other countries around the world. Please donate to help us fulfill our mission or call 415-647-4481 to donate or learn how you can help.
Dorothy Ferreira’s Dining for Smiles
AfS volunteer dental hygienist Dorothy Ferreira is living proof that you don’t need to be a professional fundraiser to make a huge difference. This year, Dorothy held a barbeque for around 50 people, who each made donations to Alliance for Smiles ranging from $5 to $400. Her event was a simple yet crowd-pleasing combination of lots of food, good music, and a relaxed atmosphere (and pictures of cute patients on every table didn’t hurt!).
You too can hold a successful Dining for Smiles fundraiser! All it takes is a little creativity and some friends. It can be as simple as a barbeque or can be themed to suit the season or current events. Celebrations around big sporting events, such as the Superbowl or World Series, never fail to draw a crowd. If you’d prefer not to do a meal, you could hold a wine tasting, garage sale, or quilt raffle. One of our volunteers hosts a yearly scarecrow stuffing party around Halloween!
If you would like to hold a Dining for Smiles fundraiser and have questions or need materials, please contact the Alliance for Smiles office at 415-647-4481. We will be more than happy to help you plan, loan you posters or banners, and send you printed materials. Every donation makes a difference!
Profile: AfS East Warehouse
In 2011, Alliance for Smiles Board Members Barbara Fisher and Tina Hollcroft opened a second warehouse in Georgia. Since most of the missions to Africa and Bangladesh depart from Atlanta rather than San Francisco, it cuts down on travel costs to not have to ship boxes of supplies and equipment across the country from San Francisco to Atlanta. AfS East maintains their own supply of consumable medical supplies as wells as their own set of durable instruments and machines. AfS East
In addition to setting up the office, Barbara and Tina volunteer at the warehouse constantly. They work to keep everything organized, pack for missions, manage other volunteers, recruit medical and non medical volunteers for missions, and write grants.
Barbara and Tina’s tireless grantwriting efforts have been instrumental for our Africa initiative, including a grant for $25,000 for our 2012 mission to Tanzania; and without their support our Bangladesh missions and Dhaka Treatment Center simply would not be possible. Barbara and Tina are now currently working on securing a grant for a return mission to Tanzania, as well as missions to Myanmar (Burma) and Nigeria.
Barbara and Tina also raise funds for Alliance for Smiles by holding Dining for Smiles events, speaking at Rotary clubs in the Georgia area, and soliciting local businesses.
Developments in Hong Kong
Since beginning Alliance for Smiles, Rotary Clubs and individuals in Hong Kong have been strong supporters of our work. In order to continue to expand support, Alliance for Smiles has enlisted several interested volunteers to be the first members of the Advisory Council for the Advancement of Alliance for Smiles Work in Asia – Hong Kong Chapter.
Helen Or, who volunteered to facilitate the Autumn strategic planning session for AfS has assumed leadership for the group. Ms. Or is a business management consultant with clients in Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore.
One of the first goals will be to establish non-profit status in Hong Kong to encourage donations from individuals and businesses to support work at all of the AfS sites. Along with the Hong Kong Chapter, Alliance for Smiles is working to establish a Council in Taipei as well.
Save the Date for the 2014 AfS Gala!
In 2014, Alliance for Smiles will once again hold the annual Volunteer Appreciation Gala at the W Hotel. The date is set for February 22nd, 2014. If you would like to receive a hard copy invitation to the Gala, or would like to donate an item for the live or silent auction, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!