GLAD-to-GIVE Smiles over the Holidays

GLAD partners with Smile Train for free cleft surgery for the poor

GLAD, mom’s favorite partner in keeping food fresh, makes this year’s holiday celebration extra special by supporting international cleft charity, Smile Train. Under its “GLAD-to-GIVE-a-SMILE campaign,” GLAD will be funding cleft lip and palate surgeries for the poor.

"To be glad is to give a smile. We are grateful for this opportunity to give this priceless gift to children born with a cleft," says Paulo M. Lao, Sales and Marketing Director of Glad Products Philippines Inc. “Through this campaign, we also want to raise awareness about Smile Train’s free cleft surgeries so they can help more people around the country.”

The “GLAD-to-Give-a-Smile” campaign engages consumers to support Smile Train’s cause by purchasing GLAD food wraps, zipper bags and storage containers during the holidays.

Smile Train, which started in the U.S. in 1999 performed its first cleft surgeries in the Philippines in 2001. In 2015, Smile Train provided over 6,000 surgeries in the Philippines through their network of partner hospitals and organizations around the country.

Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train Country Director for the Philippines, says the organization is very happy to have GLAD as one of its first local corporate donors.

"Creating awareness about Smile Train is a very big factor for us because many still don't know about the free cleft surgery we are offering. With this partnership, we anticipate that more people will learn about what we do and we would be able to help more children born with a cleft," says Flaviano. “We see school-age and adults who have never had surgery before. They are unable to go to school or find a job because of their condition,” she adds.

Cleft crusade

There are more than 170,000 children are born with a cleft lip and/or palate in developing countries every year. In the Philippines, there is an estimated 5,000 Filipino babies born with cleft lip, cleft palate or both annually. Studies have identified several factors that may cause a cleft, including the mother’s nutrition during pregnancy, the environment and genetics.

Depending on the health of the child, a cleft lip may be operated on when the baby is three months old. Surgery for the cleft palate must be done before the child starts speaking to avoid the problem of nasality or being ngongo.

A child with a cleft has difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. They are also subject to teasing and bullying. "The goal of Smile Train is to provide cleft surgery as soon as possible," says Flaviano. “This way, they can attend school and become productive members of the community,” she adds.

Brighter future

“I was amazed to hear that a simple, 45-minute surgery can change the life of a child, and his family, forever,” adds Lao. “It is our hope that this partnership with Smile Train will change the lives of more Filipinos in desperate need of cleft surgery.”

Since its founding in 1999, Smile Train has already performed more than a million surgeries in about 85 countries. Globally, every five minutes, Smile Train operates on a child with cleft.

Sealing the partnership. Paulo M. Lao (left) of Clorox International Philippines Inc. shakes hands with Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, country director of Smile Train, to formalize the agreement.

A partnership for Smile Paulo Lao (center), sales and marketing director of Clorox International Philippines Inc. (CIPI) is shown here together with Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano (2nd from right), country director of Smile Train in the Philippines, during CIPI’s hospital visit at Philippine Band of Mercy. Joining them are (from left): Jamie Padua, Asst. Brand Manager of Glad; May Samson, Brand Manager of Glad; and Ica Narvaez, also of Smile Train.

Bring that smile back. A speech pathologist at the Philippine Band of Mercy examines one of his cleft patients while a therapist looks on.

You can help #GiveSmiles, too! Buy any of the participating products and be #GladtoGiveASmile!