It’s not yet Christmas, but Christmas season comes early in the Philippines, and we’ve been given a reason to rejoice this early — and yes, it has something to do with smiles.
What’s in a smile? It is the first priceless possession you alone can share with others the moment you wake up each day. You can easily share it with anybody—your spouse, partner, pet, parents, sibling, friend, and officemate—as proof of your positive energy and radiant optimism.
This reminds us of this beautiful line by The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, “And then he gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.”
However, for children who are born with cleft palate, they may find it difficult to share this supposedly natural human element.
A cleft is an opening in the lip, the roof of the mouth or the soft tissue in the back of the mouth. With its exact cause yet to be determined, cleft lips and cleft palates are congenital defects that arise early in embryonic development, and can be repaired through surgery. In the Philippines, one in every 500 children is estimated to have a cleft.
This year, Megaworld hopes to give children with clefts the precious gift of a smile. We launched the first ever Smile Day Philippines last Saturday, November 7th, at The Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City. It is a fundraising event that seeks to give children with cleft palate the gift of a smile and a beautiful future this Christmas season.
In the words of Megaworld Cebu Properties Inc. President Mr. Noli Hernandez, “The most beautiful thing that a person could wear is not any jewelry or gold, but a smile. This fundraising event is initiated for the benefit of the children of Operation Smile Philipines Foundation. We are helping to put a smile on the faces of these children.”
It is real estate giant Megaworld Corporation’s first fundraising event together with the corporate social responsibility arm Megaworld Foundation Inc., in partnership with Operation Smile Philippines Foundation. Four other Megaworld townships in the Philippines also celebrated Smile Day Philippines simultaneously.
We also launched the Christmas Reindeer Park, displaying reindeer cut-outs lovingly brought to life as they were painted by the different representatives and volunteers of each donor. Each reindeer cut-out size represented corresponding donation amounts, where all proceeds will be given to the Operation Smile Philippines Foundation.
Originally, the fundraiser targeted to collect just P1.5 million to help 100 child beneficiaries all over the country. But as of November 5th, a whopping total of P3,641,300 was raised, which brought up the number of child beneficiaries to 242 kids. We are excited for them, especially for those who will soon receive the gift of a smile — something they can create and give not just this Christmas season, but for the rest of their lives.
It’s their turn to smile.
In photo from L-R: City Mayor Representative Mr. Hembler Mendoza, Executive Director of MSY Foundation, Inc. Ms. Monette Aliño, President of Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc. Mr. Noli D. Hernandez, and VP for Visayas Operations Engr. Virgilio J. Carsido, Jr.