The smile has returned to nine-year-old Razif Azami, who was born with a cleft palate – thanks to the efforts of an enterprising young girl.
Bhavya Vel Vell Paari managed to raise almost RM5,000 from selling brownies and cupcakes to enable Razif to undergo corrective surgery.
She donated the money to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Malaysia, who in turn sponsored Razif’s surgery at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Her efforts got the attention of several companies, which also sent donations to RMHC on her behalf.
“I love baking and I’m happy that it could help a good cause,” said Bhavya, a Year Six pupil at Alice Smith School, who had undergone cleft lip corrective surgery herself.
“When I had to choose a cause for my school’s community service project, I picked RMHC’s Gift of Smile programme as it was something close to my heart.”
Gift of Smile is a programme run by the RMHC to raise funds for children under 18 years with a cleft lip or palate, and whose families cannot afford to send them for surgery.
RMHC officer Algene Tan said such surgeries cost around RM5,000 and children would require several surgeries to fix their cleft.
“Unfortunately, the procedure is too expensive for many parents,” she added.
Since the programme began in 2004, Gift of Smile has sponsored 498 operations, which cost nearly RM2mil.
Oddly, while funding for the project continues to increase, not many parents have applied for sponsorship for their children, Tan said.
“It could be due to lack of awareness.
“There are also many families who either don’t want to, or can’t afford to come to Kuala Lumpur,” said Tan, adding that RMHC’s funds also covered travel and lodging expenses for families outside the Klang Valley.
She added RMHC welcomes more families seeking sponsorship for surgeries for their children with similar conditions.
They can obtain more information from RMHC’s websitewww.rmhc.org.my.