At the Power of a Smile Gala on Wednesday, April 2nd, our partner Smile Train celebrated its ONE MILLIONTH smile surgery – a child at CCBRT!

Kupona Foundation was honored to join in the celebration. We are incredibly grateful for partners like Smile Train, who enabled us to complete 444 cleft lip and palate surgeries last year.

The video “Reborn,” featuring CCBRT CEO Erwin Telemans and Abdul Kajumulo was unveiled at the Gala. Osawa’s story, from Smile Train’s website, is below. Visit their site to view photos of Osawa before and after the surgery, and read more about Smile Train’s work.

At only six years old, Osawa Owiti already faced more than his fair share of hardships. Born in a remote village in Tanzania, the young boy was the only child his fellow villagers had known to be born with a cleft. Even relatives treated Osawa differently. He became painfully shy and never laughed, as not to draw attention to his cleft lip.

His mother was also subject to tremendous criticism, unjustly blamed by her in-laws for Osawa’s cleft. The family of six, including his father and three siblings, persevered — remaining close despite the stigma surrounding Osawa. Follow Osawa as he transitions from a boy afraid to smile, to one who is now unable to stop; a fitting new beginning for the child who became Smile Train’s one millionth patient.

Osawa and his mother

Osawa and his mother (photo credit: Smile Train)

Congratulations to Osawa and his family, and to our partner Smile Train!

Feeling inspired? So are we! We need your help to equip and complete construction of the new CCBRT Maternity and Newborn Hospital. Improved maternal and newborn healthcare means early identification of disabilities like cleft lip and palate – enabling us to spare children like Osawa of years of unnecessary suffering. Donate today!