Masks over smiles for foundation
The inaugural Smile Foundation Masquerade Charity Ball, which took place last weekend, raised more than
R80 000 in aid of this South African nonprofit kids’ charity organisation that helps needy children with facial abnormalities.
Founded by Nelson Mandela, the Smile Foundation works to provide surgery for children born with facial anomalies, such as cleft lip and palate, and moebius syndrome.
The glamorous event on Saturday 8 September at Pezula Golf Club drew 75 guests adorned with masks and formal attire. Although guests were dazzled by beautiful decor, delicious food and quality live performances, creating awareness and raising money for children in need of reconstructive facial surgery was the primary focus of the evening.
Tanya Jackson from the Smile Foundation in Port Elizabeth shared in her speech that it is an iconic time to celebrate and honour a foundation that was started by Madiba, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. “The heartfelt story of how a letter from an eight-yearold girl in need of surgery stirred the heart of the president of South Africa has changed the lives of 2 500 children. We are passionate about continuing Madiba’s legacy through the work of the Smile Foundation, and we are so grateful to the Knysna community for their efforts.”
Organisers of the event, Martin and Therese Hansson, along with Ryan and Bianca Habib, are overjoyed with the support from the community: “As parents of children born with cleft palates, this cause is very close to our hearts. We organised this event to raise money for children in our surrounding areas to have surgery without having to travel to larger cities. We are bowled over by our community and so grateful to everyone who contributed!”
The money raised through entrance tickets, raffles and a silent auction on the night, will be enough to pay for almost six reconstructive surgeries.
Says Therese Hansson, “This fundraising effort would not have been possible without the incredibly generous donations from local businesses. We had hundreds of prizes to raffle and auction. We cannot thank our long list of sponsors enough.”
Find out more
Following the overwhelming success of the first event, organisers plan to host a charity ball as an annual fundraiser for the Garden Route.
For more information or to support the Smile Foundation, visit www. smilefoundationsa.org
Lani Groves put on a fantastic performance. Oliver Hansson (left, born with a cleft lip and palate), Noah Habib, Nellie Hansson and Mika Habib (also born with a cleft palate) are interviewed by Keith Buhr regarding their journeys firsthand.