Why it has been Attractive to Volunteers
From Thousand Smiles Wiki
This has become a very popular project among Volunteers for the following reasons:
1. Hundreds of children are born in Mexico each year with disfiguring birth defects. The simple things that normal infants take for granted, such as eating, drinking and swallowing are, in many cases major efforts for these afflicted children. Many suffocate due to liquids entering the lungs through the fistula in the palate.
2. The program affords a good interchange of technology between professionals of both countries. This interchange is not only from the United States to Mexico, but, due to the more frequent occurrence of this type of problem in Mexico, many times the US doctors learn from their Mexican colleagues.
3. It is an International program with "hands on" participation. There are many related needs that can be stand alone International Service Projects for individual clubs.
4. 100% of the investment goes to the charity. There are very few administrative costs.
5. The effort actually changes lives. The children suffering from these deformities are subject to ridicule, many times are placed in orphanages, many do not attend school, in addition to the actual health problems.
6. The project affords interaction between clubs in Northwestern Mexico and The United States.
A Field Surgical Team consists of:
5. Dental Staff
7. Speech Therapists
The volunteers, many of whom are Rotarians, are the backbone of the team. They come from Southern California and from Mexico around the local area of the clinics. All of the clinics are well attended by local medical and dental volunteers. They generally, also have observation teams from local universities. It is not unusual to see some of the students helping the doctors in their work