Op­er­a­tion Smile has brought more than 60 vol­un­teers in Cebu to do cleft lip, palate surg­eries in the Visayas Com­mu­nity Med­i­cal Cen­ter since Mon­day un­til to­mor­row.

Sun.Star Cebu - - NEWS PLUS - JKV

Five-year-old Ni­cole Bar­ri­en­tos has al­ways been bul­lied in her neigh­bor­hood in Si­tio Lusaran, Barangay Talam­ban in Cebu City ever since she knew how to walk and run.

Neigh­bors her age would of­ten bully her be­cause of her looks.

When she was born, Ni­cole had a com­plex cra­nial fa­cial palate, which made her face looked dis­fig­ured.

Her mother, Rhea Clyn, said it was al­ways her wish to im­prove Ni­cole’s sit­u­a­tion.

But be­cause of their lim­ited fi­nances, Rhea Clyn can only cry when­ever her daugh­ter is taunted by her neigh­bors.

“Maguol gyud ko. Dili nalang gyud siya makig­duwa sa uban kay sug­sugon ra siya. Sukad sau- na, makig­duwa ra siya sa iyang manghud ug ma­lin­gaw ra nga siya ra usa,” she said.

Rhea Clyn hopes that her daugh­ter’s sit­u­a­tion will change af­ter Op­er­a­tion Smile, a non-govern­ment group, com­mit­ted to op­er­ate on her for free.

Dr. Wil­liam Magee, Op­er­a­tion Smile founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, told re­porters in a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that Ni­cole is one of the 120 peo­ple whom they will pro­vide free cleft palate and lip surgery.

But since Ni­cole’s con­di­tion is com­pli­cated, Rhea Clyn said her daugh­ter will be brought by the Op­er­a­tion Smile team to Aus­tralia.

She hopes that Ni­cole can fi­nally live nor­mally like other chil- dren her age once they re­turn.

Op­er­a­tion Smile has been con­duct­ing cleft palate and lip surg­eries in the Visayas Com­mu­nity Med­i­cal Cen­ter since Mon­day.

Magee and around 63 vol­un­teers from Op­er­a­tion Smile are in Cebu, with the help of the Mariq­uita Sal­im­ban­gon Ye­ung Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion, to help change the lives of chil­dren and adults with cleft lip and palate.

Also with them is Scot­tish en­tre­pre­neur and phi­lan­thropist Dun­can Ban­natyne, who is pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the group.

Since they’ve been com­ing to Cebu, Magee said more than 5,000 chil­dren and adults have been as­sisted by Op­er­a­tion Smile. /

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