Three generous winners of the Operation Smile charity boxing fight night won adventure holidays at the fundraising event on Friday night, November 25 in Bangkok.Fight night is the annual white collar charity boxing match, silent auction and raffle that raises money to give free operations to children in rural Thai provinces to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.
Willem Niemeijer, CEO of YAANA Ventures, said: “Our travel brands take a long-term sustainable approach to business and we aim to continue a long-term relationship with Operation Smile, which is a brilliant example of a transformative charity.”
The silent auction on Friday night went well with Mr Greg Jacobs winning 3 days/2 nights at Banteay Chhmar tented camp among exotic Khmer temple ruins in Cambodia. The trip includes roundtrip air tickets between Bangkok and Siem Reap and has a value of THB89,500.
Two other winners won 3 days/ 2 nights for two people at Anurak Community Lodge, a forest nature experience in Surat Thani, including return Bangkok air fares; and 50% off a boat and bicycle tour by Grasshopper Adventures in Bangkok. The bicycle trip is for up to five people.
All three prizes are YAANA Ventures travel experiences. YAANA — and formerly its tour operator brand, Khiri Travel and its charitable arm Khiri Reach — have sponsored Operation Smile in Thailand for three years.
The money raised from the event will sponsor nearly 200 surgical operations to correct facial deformities in babies and children in rural Thai provinces.
“All of us at YAANA Ventures have a special place in our hearts for Operation Smile in Thailand,” said Mark Remijan, CFO of YAANA. “The surgeons’ work gives a positive life changing boost to so many young lives.”
Operation Smile Thailand – facts at a glance
- In as little as 60 minutes, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever
- Approximately one in every 700 babies in Thailand is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate.
- A cleft lip or cleft palate operation costs approximately THB25,000 (US$800)
- Untreated cleft lips and/or cleft palates are far more common in rural Thailand than urban areas.
- Children with facial deformities who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems.
- Operation Smile Thailand was registered as a Thai charitable foundation in 2001. Donations to Operation Smile Thailand are tax-deductible.
- Operation Smile Thailand has treated over 9,000 children since 1997.
In 2006, Operation Smile Thailand partnered with the Thai Speech and Hearing Association to produce the first Thai language manual for parents and their children who need integral cleft lip and cleft palate care.
Apart from Mr Remijan from YAANA Ventures, Khiri Travel CEO Richard Brouwer and Grasshopper Adventures CEO Adam Platt-Hepworth also attended the charity event.