Smile Train recently celebrated the milestone of 75,000 cleft surgeries in Indonesia with several days of smile-filled events.
The celebrations started appropriately at one of the 300+ local partners in Indonesia that helped to make the milestone possible. Smile Train’s CEO Susannah Schaefer, local Smile Train staff, and delegates from the Indonesian Army spent the afternoon visiting medical partners and cleft patients.
The Indonesian Army began its partnership with Smile Train in 2015, using its vast reach to locate remote cleft patients spread across 17,000+ islands. The army leverages its logistical prowess to provide the resources needed to get patients to the nearest Smile Train partner hospital, allowing Smile Train to support more than 10,000 cleft surgeries to date. Schaefer commented on the partnership’s success, “Timely cleft treatment is so important to patient success and Indonesia provides unique challenges for remote patients seeking treatment. Over the past four years the Indonesian Army have located and delivered children to our local partners that may have otherwise waited years for surgery or may have been left behind completely &Mdash; our gratitude for their assistance cannot be understated.”
Everyone was overwhelmed by the gratitude and warmth from cleft patients young and old.
Next, the milestone celebration moved from the Java region to the outskirts of Jakarta, at Hotel Santika Premier Bintaro. The hall was filled for a ceremony replete with special guests who had helped make the milestone possible, including celebrity supporters such as Maria Harfanti, corporate partners, medical partners, and many former patients.
Schaefer shared during her speech:
More than 7,000 babies are born with clefts every year in Indonesia, and we believe in the importance of empowering local medical professionals to ensure that every single child in Indonesia has access to safe and quality care. Tonight’s celebration is a true testament of what can be achieved with sustained support and collaboration.
Attendees were then treated to musical performances from a local boy band and former Smile Train patients Sarip, Aris, Putera, and Ober.
As a magical way to end the evening, the 75,000th and 75,001st Smile Train patients — twin sisters Sri Rutmini and Dewi Viana — were brought on stage with their grateful parents.
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