On 30 September – 3 October 2010, the Hayandra Peduli Foundation succeeded in conducting its first activity outside the Java island – perhaps the most prominent region in Indonesia – entitled Miles of Smiles Project for Kupang. Yes, the activity was conducted in Kupang, the Capital Province of East Nusa Tenggara.
Kupang Project was a project that provided free surgery procedures for cleft lip and cleft palate underprivileged patients in East Nusa Tenggara. In realizing the project, the Hayandra Peduli collaborated with several parties including the local government of Kupang and Military Base 191 Kupang. The surgery itself was performed at the Wirasakti Military Hospital Kupang.
Two months prior to the activity, information was disseminated through print media, radio, announcement at the respective hospitals and public places including churches. The information was spread with the aim to attract as many patients as possible. 31 candidates were registered out of the 50 place allocated. More than 90% of the patients were children.
The activity started with pre-operative examination that included short interview with patients, physical examination, and laboratory check. The surgery procedure was performed by three plastic surgeon, two anaesthetists, and tens of medical personnel that included general practitioners, assistant anaesthetists, and nurses from Jakarta and Kupang. Patients who only underwent lip surgery and without any complications were sent home directly few hours after the surgery. Patients who underwent palate surgery must be hospitalized for one day.
Gratitude and happiness were extended by the patients’ families to the team. Most of them felt that it was as if the heavy burden they had been carrying on their shoulders were finally lifted. One of the patients told the doctors that he finally had his courage back to once again go to school after a while he had decided to quit school because of embarrassment. The local government of Kupang, the hospitals and the Military Base of Kupang even expressed about their thought of having this kind of activity a regular agenda. With this in hand, we are confident that there would be more and more Miles of Smiles project.
Spreading the news to the youth
As an effort to promote the foundation’s activity, the awareness about cleft lip and cleft palate and the spirit of giving to the youth, our foundation invited Global Jaya International School Jakarta to take part in the activity. Two school captains were sent to Kupang to travel and stay with us and assist us during the operation. We found the volunteers to be helpful in small documentation and distribution of sweets for the children!