TATA International Africa donated over R120 000 to Operation Smile South Africa at a ceremony in Cape Town on Friday 22 November. The donation serves to contribute to the costs of surgery to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities, and provide education and training on the deformity.
“We are honoured and privileged to be able to contribute in such a positive way to making a difference to the lives of so many children. We recognise that by addressing the challenges children face at a young and impressionable age, together with Operation Smile we are able to give them a chance at growing into the best versions of themselves,” said Len Brand, CEO of TATA International Africa.
TATA’s relationship with the organisation dates back to 2015 with donations exceeding half a million rand over the years. These proceeds go towards supporting at least 12 children per year with operations at no costs to their families.
“Tata was founded on the principle that communities’ matter. Our CSR initiatives are focused on improving the quality of life of underprivileged communities in a sustainable manner and our ongoing partnership with Operation Smile is a testament to that commitment,” added Brand.
Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) is a non-profit medical service organisation that provides free cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive surgery. Since 2006 its medical volunteers have provided over 6,000 free surgeries to children and adults throughout Southern and Central Africa. Every three minutes, a child is born somewhere in the world with a cleft lip or cleft palate; about one in 500-750 births. It takes medical volunteers at OSSA as little as 45 minutes to repair a child’s cleft condition, giving them a smile and the chance to live a happy and healthy life.
The organisation believes that access to safe, effective and timeous surgical care is a basic human right, and that the inability to obtain surgical treatment for cleft conditions impacts lifelong health and mortality rates among children in South Africa and beyond. Those living with cleft conditions often suffer negative and stigmatic societal treatment resulting in emotional, social and economic costs which inadvertently extend to their families and communities.
“We feel exceptionally blessed to have TATA as one of our partners since 2015,” says Lauren Bright, Country Manager for Operation Smile South Africa. “The passion the brand has for making change and serving communities is outstanding. It is our pleasure to partner with such an incredible company, and we look forward to this partnership growing from strength to strength.”
Since the Tata group was formed 150 years ago, it has served as the custodian of public good, dedicated to making a positive social impact. Tata companies in Africa promote the social and economic development of local communities through education, entrepreneurship and health initiatives.