UAE News

UAE Provides Free Life-Changing Surgeries to Children with Cleft Conditions This Eid Al-Fitr

Emirates Humanitarian City Celebrates Eid with New Smiles

This Eid Al-Fitr, over 1,200 Palestinian children and families found not only a safe haven at Emirates Humanitarian City but also a reason to smile brighter, thanks to life-changing surgeries provided free of charge. The operations, aimed at correcting cleft lip and palate conditions, were part of the ‘Smiley Summer Campaign’ organized by a prominent UAE mall in collaboration with Operation Smile.

Bringing Joy Through Healing

The festive period was marked by a series of colorful Eid activities, particularly designed to uplift spirits of the children recovering from their surgeries. Among those benefiting from these surgeries was 10-year-old Josiah Pietersen from South Africa, who recently underwent a critical bone graft procedure as part of his treatment. “It was weird at first because a bone was taken from my hip and placed in my mouth,” Josiah shared with Khaleej Times, adding that he now feels more comfortable and flexible.

Global Impact of Cleft Conditions

Cleft lip and palate are among the most common congenital deformities, affecting approximately one in 500 births in certain ethnic groups. These conditions can lead to challenges such as speech and hearing impairments, difficulties in eating and social isolation. Modern reconstructive surgeries, which can begin as early as three months old and may continue into the teenage years, are crucial in restoring functionality and boosting the confidence of affected children.

Community and Corporate Support

The initiative was made possible through the contributions of City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah and the diligent efforts of Operation Smile. “We are immensely proud of the results achieved through our Smiley Summer Campaign,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, managing director of UAE Shopping Malls. The campaign not only brought smiles to the faces of children but also provided significant relief to their families, who otherwise face the high costs and emotional strain of these medical conditions.

Looking Forward

As families like Josiah’s celebrate the success of these surgeries, the commitment of the UAE to humanitarian causes remains steadfast. Morag Cromey-Hawke, executive director of Operation Smile UAE, expressed gratitude for the community’s support, which has enabled them to continue providing essential services to those in need. “As we cherish the joy and satisfaction this campaign has brought to children and their families, we look forward to similarly impactful collaborations in the future,” Cromey-Hawke added.

This Eid, while the celebrations were tempered by thoughts of strife back home, the acts of kindness and generosity in the UAE provided a beacon of hope and joy for many, ensuring a memorable festival for all involved.

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