100 Smiles in Chiang Mai for Dusit Smiles
Leading Asian hospitality group Dusit International held a press conference at Maharaj Nakhorn Chiang Mai Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand to announce its sponsorship of cleft lip or cleft palate surgeries for 100 children with these facial deformities. The sponsorship comes by way of Dusit Smiles, a program created in partnership with Operation Smile Thailand.
The surgeries are possible due to donations collected from guests and staff of Dusit International's hotels and resorts. Donations are collected throughout the year via voluntary staff salary deductions, donation boxes in the hotels, and various fundraisers organized by the Group.
Founded in 2010, by 2011 Dusit Smiles raised enough funds to sponsor surgeries for nearly 80 children. In 2012, to commemorate the auspicious occasion of the 85th birthday of HM the King of Thailand, the company sponsored 85 surgeries.
To date, Dusit Smiles' efforts have raised over 3 million THB, used to cover the cost of medical equipment as well as transportation for the children and their families. The surgeons, nurses and hospital staff are all volunteers.
"Because we are a Thai company, we feel it is both our duty and responsibility to give back to the community," said Mr. David Shackleton, COO of Dusit International. "The objectives and results achieved by Operation Smile Thailand make this an exceptional organisation to support, and we are pleased to partner with them in bringing a brighter future to these deserving children."
Since 1997, Operation Smile Thailand has treated over 7,000 children with facial deformities. Children who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems. Approximately one in every 500 babies in Thailand is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, but in as little as 60 minutes, one surgery can change a child's life.