x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Kids getting new smiles after resort flea market

The youngsters, born with cleft lips and palates and other facial deformities, will be having surgery thanks to more than Dh20,000 raised.

ABU DHABI // More than 20 children in Jordan will soon have their smiles back.

The youngsters, born with cleft lips and palates and other facial deformities, will be having surgery thanks to more than Dh20,000 raised by the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort at a flea market a month ago.

"It is unbelievable how much impact these funds can make in a child's life," said Thomas van Opstal, the general manager of Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort.

"One 45-minute surgery transforming a cleft lip into a beautiful smile and changing a child's life forever costs less than Dh900."

Operation Smile is a children's charity present in 60 countries, and has an office in Abu Dhabi.

It is also planning a mission to Jordan to operate on 120 children born with cleft lips.

The flea market raised money through table fees and donations from some exhibitors.

Eighty-five exhibitors and hundreds of visitors sold and bought second-hand items such as clothes, accessories, furniture and toys.

One of the stalls was run by Abu Dhabi Cause Connect, which raised more than Dh3,000 for its Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) summer camp appeal.

Suparna Mathur, a co-founder of the charity, said proceeds from the flea market would help to provide art and game kits for students at 17 summer camps.

The PCRF organises summer camps for disabled and impoverished children.

Abu Dhabi Cause Connect is collecting donations in kind including skipping ropes, facepaint, soccer balls, soccer jerseys and art supplies until the end of this month.

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort is scheduled to hold another flea market on May 12 to support the Glorious Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania.

The funds will go towards necessities for 81 orphans, said Martina Venus, the hotel's public relations director.

rruiz@thenational.ae