Every child is entitled to live a normal, healthy life but all too often that’s not the case for youngsters in low-income families.
Imad Shehadi of Beirut, Lebanon, is trying to do something about it in his native land. He has organized Operation Restore a Smile, a service that provides free medical assistance, and surgery if necessary, for children suffering from physical deformities caused by birth defects or trauma.
Operation Restore a Smile covers simple and complicated reconstruction surgeries, including cleft lip and palate, craniofacial deformities, hand deformities, burn scar and contractions, and traumatic war injuries.
9 months old baby girl presented with large Hemangioma of the parotid gland, prior to surgery
“We host twelve restorative weekends per year,” explains Shehadi. “Volunteer medical professionals offer treatment and surgery for children. Our aim is to cover the hospital expenses so that our volunteer physicians can donate their time and expertise.”
Additional financial support is needed to keep the program going. Because of the Syrian refugee crisis, which has resulted in nearly 2 million Syrians seeking a safe haven in Lebanon, local funding has almost disappeared.
“Our financial situation is not good,” Shehadi says. “We’re getting very little money from within our country. At the same time, our need has grown exponentially.”
In order to generate funding, Shehadi has launched an Indiegogo campaign, which can be viewed at www.indiegogo.com/projects/operation-restore-a-smile
Donations of any amount are welcome. The hope is that people from all over the world will be interested in helping children and will support this project.
3 years old girl, 2 years after her surgery
“Even just a few dollars will make a difference if that’s all you can afford,” says Shehadi. “If we get enough people to contribute, we can keep this program alive. It’s amazing that we can get so many skilled medical professionals to donate their time. Now we have to come up with the money to pay for the hospital visits.
“Operation Restore a Smile is providing our children with an opportunity to develop a positive self-image and become a productive member of their community. There’s no price you can put on that.”
For additional information, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/operation-restore-a-smile or the Operation Restore a Smile website, www.operationrestoreasmile.org
Shehadi can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Name: Operation Restore a Smile
Contact Person: Imad Shehadi
State: Greater Beirut