For 29-year-old Ephraim Moyo, who was born with a cleft lip, the Operation Smile mission to Mbombela made all the difference in the world.
Ephraim was one of the 46 patients who underwent surgery for cleft lips and palates and facial deformities in September when Operation Smile visited Mbombela. There were fifty-four applicants (from the age of a few months to people in their late twenties), and the remaining eight have been offered further assistance by means of referral to their nearest hospitals for the relevant specialists.
Here’s more on how Operation Smile changed Ephraim’s life:
Ephraim was born with a cleft lip, and at the age of seven, left school because he could no longer endure the constant teasing and bullying. It was at his place of work in Pretoria that a chance visitor told him of the mission to Mbombela, where he might be helped.
He was so determined that he travelled for nearly seven hours to attend the screening days in the hope of being selected for the surgery. He was lucky, and found out that he was the first patient who had been cleared to have the surgery.
“It is always a great privilege to help people but the older patients often appreciate the experience more profoundly because they understand the change so much better,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Anton Potgieter.
Cipla, a loyal supporter of Operation Smile
Ephraim and his fellow patients are able to receive care thanks to the work of tireless supporters, sponsors and volunteers.
One of these sponsors is pharmaceutical company Cipla, a loyal supporter of the work of Operation Smile for nearly a decade. And their involvement is direct: Rynard van der Westhuizen, the director of corporate affairs for Cipla was on hand to not only witness Ephraim’s surgery but also to accompany him every step of the way.
“We have been with Operation Smile for the last 10 years and through our relationship have raised over eight million rand and helped bring about over 2000 corrective surgeries. Today was a life-changing experience though, it’s just a massive privilege to assist someone in receiving their God-given right to smile,” said van der Westhuizen.
Operation Smile is a not-for-profit medical humanitarian charity that is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. The aim is to provide free, safe reconstructive surgery to those born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate or facial deformities.
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