Hotel group strives to bring back children's smiles in Asia's remote areas | Updated: 2017-01-10 13:14

Hotel group strives to bring back children's smiles in Asia's remote areas

The specially-designed cake for Smile Asia Week. [Photo provided to]

The third Smile Asia Week of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of Asia Pacific saw 14,876 cakes sold at the charity event, with all profits going directly to treat children with facial deformities in Asia's remote corners.

Together with Smile Asia, the funds have raised $1 million since the program started three years ago and supported almost 1,515 operations from the sale of specially-designed cakes.

Smile Asia is a global alliance of independent charities working together to treat facial deformities, primarily cleft lips and cleft palates. Together, these charities deliver free surgical care through medical missions and outreach centers across Asia.

This year, the hotel group also went beyond fundraising by sending staff to help the medical teams set up their surgeries in remote locations.

To date, more than 50 hotel volunteers have provided support in six locations, including Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia, and Yangon in Myanmar.

In 2017, a portion of the proceeds from Smile Asia Week will be used to provide Plastic Surgery Fellowships to two deserving doctors from Bhutan. This would be the first such initiative supported by Smile Asia, which is aimed at long-term self-sufficiency in countries where there is a lack of qualified professionals.

"The program with Smile Asia reflects our desire to go beyond the comforts of pure fundraising in their own cities and extends it to the field as a sustainable commitment," said Victor Clavell, vice president, Asia-Pacific, The Ritz-Carlton. "The medical missions are a powerful representation of our service values and commitment to global citizenship. They enable our ladies and gentlemen to utilize their skills and knowledge collaboratively with the surgical teams and see firsthand the results of their efforts."

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