By Style Reporter
An all-volunteer United States and Canadian surgical team, Operation of Hope, will in May embark on a cleft surgical mission in Zimbabwe.
The 30-year-old US/Canada-based surgical charity has dedicated its mission, their 26th visit to Zimbabwe, to the late music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi. Their mission in May will targets at least 80 free facial reconstructive surgeries.
Operation of Hope celebrates 30 years of goodwill this year. The charity organisation has performed more than 5 000 free cleft surgeries for children and adults in Zimbabwe since 2006.
According to Operation of Hope CEO Jennifer Mora Trubenbach, their visit to Zimbabwe is in honour of Mtukudzi, who was also a United Nations Children’s Fund ambassador.
“Our surgical team has had many fond memories over the years of Oliver and his band, and throughout the years, Oliver’s daughter Selmor and her husband Tendai Manatsa have supported the team on screening day serenading patients with their beautiful music,” Trubenbach said.
More than 80 children and adults are targeted for free facial reconstructive surgery at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo on May 4 and at Harare Central Hospital on May 19.
Operation of Hope depends on the kindness of private citizens, sponsors and the services of medical volunteers as all surgeries are free of charge to patients and their families.
“We are often asked as Americans: Are we independently wealthy to do this work? Most of the volunteers love to come to Zimbabwe for the very reason they first got into medicine — to help as many people as they can because they love doing so,” Trubenbach said.
Trubenbach singled out Schweppes and Econet Wireless as local corporates that have supported their cause.
“We are so thankful to Schweppes for truly understanding our mission and helping us take care of these kids as safely as we can,” she said. “Econet has also been supportive in helping us get the word out to prospective patients, especially those in the rural areas.”
This year’s team comprises volunteers from Canada, California, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Massachusetts. Emirates Airlines, in partnership with the Emirates Foundation, was also instrumental in helping with the volunteers’ airfare.