SINGAPORE. The Moodie Davitt Report is delighted to announce that our fourth charity dinner will be held on Saturday 6 May at Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore, a luxurious and award-winning conservation hotel tucked within 18 hectares of lush greenery in Fort Canning Park.

As reported, the Smile Raising Charity Dinner will raise funds and visibility for international cleft charity Smile Train.

The event will be held on the eve of the TFWA Asia Pacific show. Gold tables of ten are available for US$4,000 and Platinum tables of ten for US$7,500. Individual places can be booked for US$400 each and other special support and partnership packages are available.

For more details see the official Smile Raising Charity Dinner website launched today. To reserve a table or place, please email Jeannie Wong at headed ‘Smile Raising’.

In the run-up to the event we will be sharing some of the Smile Train stories (beginning below), introducing you to those whose lives have been changed thanks to the charity. We will also report on location from Smile Train clinics.

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie said, “Smile Train is an extraordinary organisation that has been close to our heart and that of the travel retail industry for the past decade and a half.

“Over the past 20 years, Smile Train has transformed the lives of more than 1.5 million children, and I am proud that the travel retail community has played such an important part. Smile Train aims to double its reach in the next five years, putting more children than ever before on track to a better future.

“As a customer-facing industry, travel retail understands the priceless value of a smile. Let’s come together to put a smile on the faces of children all around the world for whom that simple, most beautiful human gesture is so difficult. Please support Smile Train and our endeavours by booking your table or individual seat and/or by providing live or silent auction prizes and supporting us in any other way suitable.”

One of Singapore’s most renowned heritage buildings, Hotel Fort Canning bears a storied past that dates back to the early 20th century. Today, the hotel’s architecture continues to retain much of its colonial glamour, combining it with modern elements of the surrounding parklands.

The Smile Raising Charity Dinner event marks our 21st year in business and our fourth charity dinner to be held in Asia. Previous events in Hong Kong (2007 and 2012) and Singapore (2019) have raised almost US$1 million collectively for the nominated charities.

Smile Train has been among The Moodie Davitt Report’s preferred charities since 2007 when the Hong Kong gala dinner raised over US$300,000 for the cause.

Over the past 15 years, we have helped generate more than US$2.5 million for Smile Train through our own donations (including from The Virtual Travel Retail Expo and The Trinity Forum), charity dinners; the ‘Miles for Smiles’ fun runs in Dubai and around the world; and even a world-record, highest altitude rock gig at the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro called The Chasing Rainbows Tour.

Smile Train has supported over 1.5 million cleft surgeries since 1999. Every five minutes Smile Train-supported cleft treatment helps a child in need.

Some 200,000 babies are born every year with cleft lips and/or palates. US$250 funds the cost of the 45-minute cleft surgery that transforms the life of a child – and that of his or her family.

It is estimated that some 170,000 babies in the developing world are born every year with cleft lips and/or palates.

US$250 funds the cost of the simple 45-minute cleft surgery that transforms the life of a child – and that of their families.

Smile Train Case Study 1

Meet Yohanes, a youngster from Ethiopia, and his mother Atsede.

Atsede cried when the nurses took photos after her first child was born, begging them to stop as she tried to understand what was wrong with her son.

Atsede had never seen anyone with a cleft before. When she tried to breast feed Yohanes, the milk came out his nose. Instead of soothing him, it only made him cry harder.

On seeing his new son, Atsede’s husband Aschalew left the room. He had a distant relative who had undergone cleft surgery after years of saving to fund the operation. Aschalew was not prepared for his child to be forced to wait.

Yohanes before and after his life-changing Smile Train cleft surgery

The hospital staff reassured Atsede and Aschalew that the nearby Yekatit 12 hospital in Addis Ababa specialised in helping children with clefts and helped make an appointment.

There Atsede learnt how to feed Yohanes with a spoon. The staff assured her that the child qualified for free cleft surgery, thanks to a partnership with Smile Train, but he would have to wait about nine months until he reached a healthy weight.

They showed her photos of other children, before and after surgery, to ease her mind. However, Atsede was quick to learn the cost of nutrition supplements and realised they were beyond their means. Some of her family members were supportive while others suggested sending the child to an orphanage.

Atsede was torn. Yohanes had difficulty sleeping and feeding. He needed to be elevated so he didn’t choke; he cried constantly. Fights over his food running out pushed her marriage to breaking point as she sold her belongings to purchase the necessary food.

Superstitious neighbours blamed Atsede for her baby’s cleft, forcing her to stay indoors and hide her son’s face any time visitors arrived. In desperate moments, she contemplated suicide.

Atsede did not give up and Yohanes was ready for surgery at his nine-month appointment. The surgery went off without a hitch; Atsede and Aschalew’s son could breathe properly for the first time. And smile.

Mother and child both with reason to smile

Yohanes is now a healthy four-year-old and a big brother. The whole family is deeply grateful to Smile Train for giving him a chance to thrive. They are looking forward to the free, Smile Train-sponsored speech therapy Yohanes will soon begin to help him speak clearly and interact with his classmates with confidence. ✈