Operation Smile has partnered with Fair Cape Dairies and shopping centres in the Western Cape to change the lives of children across South Africa who are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate.

The campaign starts on Give a Child a Smile Day on February 6 and will end on World Smile Day in October.

Our aim is to encourage the public to collect plastic bottle caps from Fair Cape Dairies products as well as any other plastic bottle caps. Each operation costs R5500 and every kilogram of bottle tops collected will be recycled. Independent auditors will ensure that 100% of the money raised will go towards paying for the vital surgery.

Operation Smile

Operation Smile

“Every 3 minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip and/ or a cleft palate. A child born with a cleft lip or cleft palate has twice the odds of other children of dying before celebrating their first birthday,” says AdvaBrivik from Operation Smile. “Babies born with a cleft lips or cleft palates are more likely to have a lower birth weight than infants born without a cleft and they often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, may suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems. Many also develop permanent and significant hearing loss”.

“This is the fourth most common birth defect in the world but a45 minute operation is all that it takes to make these children smile and live normal lives,” says Louis Loubser, CMO of Fair Cape Dairies. “And saving your plastic bottle tops for recycling is such an easy thing to do. We really hope that the public will back this campaign so that the lives of many children can be changed.”

Look out for collection bins in The Golden Acre, PicbelParcade and in many other centres. Collection bins are also available for schools or companies that would like to participate.

For more information, contact Jessica Miller Jessica@hippocommunications.com or call 021 556 8200.

More info about cleft palates:

* A cleft lip/ cleft palate is a visible separation in the skin of one’s lip. This space can be a small hole, or it can be a significant opening that extends from the base of the baby’s nose all the way down to her top jaw and gums.

* Clefts are the 4th most common birth defect in the world and are found in every geographical area and every ethnic group.

* Every 3 minutes, a child somewhere in the world is born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.

*A baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate has twice the odds of other children of dying before celebrating their first birthday.

*Children with facial deformities 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.

*Many children with untreated cleft lips & cleft palates develop permanent and significant hearing loss.

Ed’s note: If you do not yet have a local collection bin, please save your plastic bottle tops until such time as there is one – or offer to provide one! Please let me know of collection points available so that I can advertise these on the Scenic South.