Sh1.3m for a smile

September 28, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 28 – Operation Smile has raised Sh1.3 million through a corporate challenge relay to carry out reconstructive facial surgery.

Event organiser John Verzian on Sunday said the surgeries would be conducted between October 2 and 10 in Mombasa and October 24 and 31 in Kisumu.

"We have collected big money in the past almost Sh3 million but this year the economy of Kenya is a bit depressed so we weren’t really expecting a very big turnout," Mr Verzian said.

"To be honest this is about half of what we would normally expect but next year will be our 15th anniversary and we would like to see more groups join us like the Members of Parliament or even the media," he added.

Verzian said the event attracted 20 corporates and 18 medical volunteers from the United States, Britain, Netherlands and Ireland. They would join local volunteers to perform the surgeries next month.

"We have a proud record of having done surgery to about 8,000 children since 1987. There is a never ending queue of children and we will carry out the operation whenever we can," he promised.

Operation Smile Chairperson Yolanda Andersen said surgeries in Meru and Nyeri had already been done earlier this year.

Last year, the Operation Smile collected Sh2.3 million in the corporate challenge where companies were invited to run a 5km road relay race. The corporate challengers commit a minimum of Sh270, 000 each.

The international group of medical professionals performs reconstructive surgery, free of charge, for children with facial deformities.


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