Mubadala, Operation Smile UAE partner to sponsor three international volunteering missions

Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate and Human Capital Officer at Mubadala (left) and Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and member of the board of OSUAE during the signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, 19th January, 2023 (WAM) — Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), signed an agreement with Operation Smile UAE, to sponsor three international volunteering missions in 2023.

The first mission will take place at the end of January going to Egypt, where its employee volunteers will support children and adults as they undergo transformative procedures for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial anomalies.

The agreement was signed by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and member of the board of OSUAE, and Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate and Human Capital Officer at Mubadala, in the presence of H.H. Sheikha Alyazia bint Saif Al Nahyan, Founder, Chair of the Board and Patron of Operation Smile UAE, and wife of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The partnership with Operation Smile UAE was established as a result of Mubadala employees’ eagerness to support international causes that support children, as well as the important work the charity executes for communities worldwide.

Sheikha Alyazia said, “Operation Smile UAE has grown and accomplished so much since 2011 and we are delighted that Mubadala has agreed to partner with us and share our vision of providing surgeries for all children with cleft conditions. By sponsoring three international missions Mubadala will help us reach children throughout the world who would otherwise not have access to safe surgical care and not only improve their lives but the lives of their families and communities. We continue to encourage others to support our cause and share our belief that every child deserves a smile.”

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Al Shimmari said, “As a global and responsible investor, we proactively seek ways to engage and make a positive difference in the communities where we deploy capital. It is an honour for our employees, through our Employee Volunteering Program, to partner with Operation Smile UAE. In our fifth year of volunteering and as we continue to make a tangible positive lasting impact.”

A total of five volunteers from Mubadala ─ will support the mission across several areas including child-life area support, data collection and patient screening and applicants’ registration, they will be joined by six of our Operation Smile credentialed medical volunteers from Mubadala Health – a network of world-class healthcare providers. The volunteers include one surgeon, two anaesthetists, two nurses and a dentist.
Mubadala’s Employee Volunteering Program is a purpose-driven engagement platform that provides meaningful opportunities for employees to contribute their time, skills and charity to the community. The Program was launched in 2018 with a focus on supporting the Special Olympic World Games and has continued to evolve, enabling the organisation to make a difference through volunteering activities in line with its responsible investment approach.

Run for Smiles – December 11, 2022 – Al Ain Zoo

RUN FOR SMILES

Al Ain Zoo

10K / 5K / 2.5K

Run For Smiles returns to Al Ain Zoo

Operation Smile presents the return of the Run For Smiles event on Sunday 11th December 2022.

Experience running through Al Ain Zoo – the courses take you around the Zoo to run amongst the zebras, camels and giraffes. Through the Safari area and past the flamingo pond. Through the lovely winding paths of the world desert area and on to the African habitat.

Join us and the Al Ain Zoo residents for a 2.5km short lap, 5km full lap or two full laps for the 10km option.

A unique run in one of the most beautiful areas of the UAE.

Start Times            Distance Race Start Course                                                                   Cost

7:30am                   10km 2 full laps                                                                                     95 AED

7:35am                   5km 1 full lap                                                                                          95 AED

7:42am                   2.5km, a short lap                                                                                  95 AED

2.5km                     2.5km     Junior Run for Kids from 5 years old                                 65 AED

 

Register on Gulf Multi Sport

Information on My Race Result 

From hatred to acceptance – Ericka’s journey of self-love

By Adryka Vats, U-Voice Student Storyteller 

Ericka in 2022

On the 8th of October, a couple was blessed with the birth of their beautiful daughter, Ericka. She was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.  How she looked didn’t matter to them. All that mattered was giving her the best life possible.

Ericka knew she was different. As a young girl, it bothered her. The weird stares from strangers and the hurtful words of kids dented her self-esteem. ” I used to be alone. I hated people. I hated myself,” she said as she reminisced.

However, her family stood by her like a rock. She considers herself fortunate to have their constant love and support.

“I’m here because of them,” she said. Without them, her journey would have been far more daunting.

When asked if she knew why she was born with the condition, she simply said she doesn’t know. She never tried asking her parents either as she didn’t want to let them relive the pain and is happier not knowing.

“I never asked them,” she said, “I don’t want them to feel sad.”

As she sat in the hospital seating area for the 1-week follow-up of her 5th surgery, she saw the other patients who were all babies. She felt a connection with them but knows that each one has a different story.

However, they were all united in the fact that their lives had changed. That was something really special.

As she looks back at her journey, she feels very happy and proud. She said, “It was hard, but I made myself strong.”

Getting out of that depressive and self-destructive abyss was tough as a young girl but she ‘wanted to push herself’. She knew she was much more than her cleft condition and wanted to channel the true Ericka she is.

She pursued her hobbies like playing varsity table tennis at a high school and college level. She finds joy in playing the guitar and singing. Currently, she is in her dream job as a pastry chef coming up with crazy creations of her own. She is truly a testament to how hard work and determination can overcome any obstacle you face.

In the past, the constant bullying and lack of acceptance from society forced her into isolation. Depressing thoughts loomed over her head.

“Why am I like this?… Why me?… Why am I here if I’m like this?”

After 25 and 5 surgeries later, she found the answer. She is special. She believes she was chosen out of many to go through this because she was stronger than many. What was once her greatest weakness is now her greatest strength.

When asked if she had any advice for patients going through what she did, she said:

“Just believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself. This is the most important thing. Before you love others, you need to love yourself and accept who you are. The second thing is to push for your dreams, whatever your dreams are. No one can stop you. “

With two of her latest surgeries happening through Operation Smile, she has nothing but gratitude towards them. “Operation Smile gave me hope. They gave me so much hope for myself. They changed my life,” she said.

Not only did Operation Smile support her through surgeries, but also helped her find a job she loves and navigate life in the UAE.

“I’m very happy; I feel amazing about myself,” she said as she described how much Operation Smile impacted her, “They’re like my family.”

Ericka’s story outlines how Operation Smile is a community that comes together to provide holistic care. Care doesn’t stop at surgery but goes beyond.

While talking about her future she mentioned, “I want to become stronger. I want to help other patients.”

Ericka embraces her condition and is always ready to talk to others about it. She’s attended many Operation Smile UAE events and numerous U-leads as a speaker and, she continues to raise awareness and spread positivity surrounding cleft conditions.

Having gone through the stigma first-hand, she makes sure to do her bit and is Operation Smile UAE’s biggest supporter.

Ericka with OSUAE Exeutive Director Morag

Cycle For Smiles

JOIN US FOR A GLOBAL CHARITY RIDE THAT COMBINES PASSION, DETERMINATION AND COMMUNITY TO CELEBRATE OPERATION SMILE’S FOUR DECADES OF TRANSFORMING CHILDREN’S LIVES AROUND THE WORLD THROUGH COMPREHENSIVE CLEFT CARE.

On Sunday November 6, Hudayriyat Island will host the UAE Operation Smile 40k Cycle Race in collaboration with Wolfi’s Bike Shop and Abu Dhabi Cycling Club.

The 40k Cycle Race will commence at 6:45am with a Junior Only Race of 10k to follow at 8am with a family ride along from 8:30am.

All Participants in the Cycle Race and Junior Race will receive a bespoke Cycle For Smiles Medal.

COVID-19 Protocols – To participate in this event we advise participants over 16 must be vaccinated or have the appropriate waiver. Your ALHOSN app must be showing ‘Green’ with a negative PCR test result having been undertaken within 30 days of event day.

Competitors under 16, who are or who are not fully vaccinated, need to show a green AlHosn.

Register here – https://gulfmultisport.inphota.com/en/event/cycle-for-smiles-40k-challenge/

40 KM Race – 105 AED

10 KM – Junior Race – 55 AED

10 KM – Family Ride (non competative) – 40 AED

3 KM – A Ride for the young children and young at heart to support Operation Smile UAE – 40 AED

 

Volunteer Stories : NYUAD Students work with Operation Smile UAE

Photo shows student volunteer Alex taking photos of an Operation Smile UAE patient's cleft palate
NYUAD Student Volunteer Alex (left) with Patient Imageing Technician, Pearly (right) taking photos of an Opeartion Smile UAE patient during a check up

By Adryka Vats, U-Voice student storyteller 

Operation Smile UAE has had a long-lasting relationship with New York University, Abu Dhabi. Strengthening that bond, in the March 2022 mission at Burjeel Medical City, three NYUAD students came on board. They all came in with curious minds and compassionate hearts and left with a bag of memories and lifelong lessons.

Tatiana, majoring in Biology, joined the medical mission as a Medical Records Assistant.  She had always been aware of Operation Smile through alumni and developed an interest in its work. The name was always familiar to her so when she saw an opening in the medical mission, she took that as a sign and went for it.

Faisal, majoring in Biology, helped out as a Patient Imaging Technician. He particularly related to Operation Smile’s work as he hasfamily members with cleft conditions. Since he attended high school in AbuDhabi, he was well-acquainted with the organization. When the opportunity to participate in a medical mission came by, he knew it was meant for him and applied right away.

Alex, majoring in Biology, also assisted as a Patient Imaging Technician. Unlike Tatiana and Faisal, Alex wasn’t really aware of Operation Smile’s work. He found out about it through a job posting and was drawn to the opportunity.

For all of them, the fact that they were able to get some experience in a medical setting but also have the aspect of helping people was perfect.

When asked about their experience at the medical mission, Tatiana mentioned how she always has had an ‘up down’ relationship with medicine.

She said, “When you get immersed into the technical aspect of medicine, you forget why you initially wanted to do medicine. So, this was wonderful as it reminded me of why I chose this as a career path for me.”

Tatiana particularly loved the collaborative environment and the fact that she was making an impact.

“I loved existing in such a dynamic environment where you’re not doing things just for the sake of doing it and you lose track of time,” she said.

The exposure of talking to doctors was an insightful one. She left feeling inspired and connected a lot of her moments back to her home country, Lebanon.

NYUAD student Tatiana reviews medical records during a screening session for Opeartion Smile UAE.
Credit: Operation Smile UAE

Faisal answered by saying, “Ilearned more in these past few days than I have in months.”

He got the opportunity to discuss a surgery which he found fascinating. Moreover, seeing the dramatic change in patients and parents made him realizethe sheer impact of Operation Smile.

“It really puts things in perspective,” he said, “We spend the entire week stressed about exams but things like this just make you realize that there are so many other beautiful things.”

He enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes work that goes in prepping patients for surgery. He loved the fact that Operation Smile UAE was so accepting and was filling in the gaps in the healthcare system.

Reminiscing about the mission, Tatiana realized that it doesn’t take a lot for people to make a change.

“It just takes a few people who have the skills and capabilities to say yes,” she further said, “Medicine is seen as such a lucrative job but just seeing doctors who want to do this because it’s a calling is inspiring.”

Faisal added to that by saying “People devoting themselves to helping other people is way more than just a profession. It becomes part of your identity.”

Alex answered, “We woke up at 5:40 am and came here and all the surgeries were done by 2 pm. Look at the number of things you can get done by waking up early. You literally changed the lives of 6 people.“

He further elaborated, “With the right objective and the right mindset and a little bit of investment, you can really make a difference.”

NYUAD student Faisal (right) spends time with a patient during the Operation Smile UAE medical mission at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi. Credit: Operation Smile UAE

For Tatiana, she was particularly struck by how each and every person remembered each patient’s name.It’s a small detail but signifies a lot. “Just the fact that you follow these people so closely throughout their lifetimes is so fulfilling and so inspiring. This is the kind of medical professional and person I eventually want to be,”she said.

We certainly don’t know what the future holds but their ultimate goal is to get into medical school, set up an NGO-like Operation Smile, and make an impact through their work.

For anyone thinking about joining Operation Smile, here’s what Tatiana had to say:

“Go for it and don’t be afraid to ask questions! I think compassion is the most important thing and if you’re here then you’re the right person to be here.”

Just like every volunteer, this medical mission created a hugeimpact on them and has prepared them for the future.

Whether it was Tatiana’s infectious laugh or Faisal’s intriguing conversations, or Alex’s Korean talk with student volunteers, they all brought something special to the mission.

August Book Sale !!!

Visit the Operation Smile UAE office

 August 24, 25, 26

Open from 9AM-5PM

Browse our full selection of pre-loved books.

We will accept cash or card for payment.

PLEASE NOTE – WE ARE NOT ABLE TO ACCEPT BOOK DONATIONS
OUR STORAGE SPACE IS FULL

Location map for Operation Smile UAE office

Big Book Sale at Al Wahda Mall June 2-4 2022

The Big Book Sale is back! Join Operation Smile UAE in the Main Atrium at Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi Thursday June 2 to Saturday June 4th, 10 AM to 11 PM each day.

We will have over 10,000 pre-loved books for sale. Children’s, fiction, non-fiction, young readers, teenage fiction, self-help, cookbooks.. and much more!

We’ll have books in Arabic, French and Spanish.

All proceeds will go towards providing free and safe surgery to children and young adults with cleft lip and cleft palate.

Payment by cash or card will be accepted.

PLEASE NOTE – WE CANNOT ACCEPT BOOK DONATIONS AT THIS TIME

Courtyard Book Sale

Tuesday March 15th  from 10 AM – 8 PM & Wednesday March 16th from 10 AM – 8 PM

Join us in our office courtyard for our in person book sale. We will have lots of pre-loved books for sale, all subjects and in lots of different languages.

All proceeds go to providing free and safe surgery to children with cleft conditions.

Payment by cash or card.

 

Courtyard Book Sale

Tuesday February 15th  from 10 AM – 8 PM & Wednesday February 16th from 10 AM – 8 PM

Join us in our office courtyard for our in person book sale. We will have lots of pre-loved books for sale, all subjects and in lots of different languages.

All proceeds go to providing free and safe surgery to children with cleft conditions.

Payment by cash or card.