Tensator Delivers the Smiles

The Tensator company in Bayshore held a special fundraising campaign for The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids.  The employees heard about Dunia on the news and want to do something to help.  They decided to start a collection and contribute money to help our organization.

We applaud this altruistic company and all of their conscience based employees.

Dr. Leon Klempner, founder, of the Smile Rescue Fund for Kids, is shown here accepting the donation from Director of Sales, David Cohen, on behalf of the organization. 

Listen to Dr.Klempner on Stony Brook Radio – WUSB – 90.1 – Thursday 2/25/16 – 3pm

Dr. Leon Klempner will be interviewed about the Smile Rescue Fund for Kids on Stony Brook radio station WUSB(90.1)FM on Thursday February 25, 2016 at 3 pm.  He will discuss Dunia’s recent surgery and the SRFK volunteers.

Listen in of you are around.

Dunia’s First Surgery – Jan.11, 2016 – Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

I’m happy to announce that Dunia will undergo his first surgical procedure at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital on January 11th.  Due to his extensive injuries and subsequent scarring, Dunia will need multiple surgeries.  On January 11th, a team of doctors and nurses lead by Dr. Alexander Dagum, Chairman, Department of Plastic Surgery, will operate to graft tissue necessary for future surgeries. This complex challenging surgery could take all day.  The ultimate goal is an attempt to recreate new functional upper and lower lips for Dunia.

As most of you know, Dunia Sibomana and Andre Bauma were welcomed into the home of Jennifer Crean and her three children: Collin, Eian, and Grace.  Andre has since returned home to his two families, his wife and kids, and his orphaned gorillas.

Staying with Jenn full time has brought Dunia a unique opportunity: to attend the Pines elementary school in Hauppauge. As of this writing, Dunia has happily settled into the school-day routine.  Even better, one of Dunia’s classroom teachers is Mrs. Tamara West whose husband, Mr. Michael West, is the Director of Food Services at Stony Brook Hospital.  With Michael’s help we were able to bring Dunia and Andre to the hospital for a short tour prior to Andre’s return to the DRC on December 21st.

Something to remember is that Dunia is a native Swahili speaker. He understands and can say some words in French (lessons are taught in French in school in the DRC), and can also understand and speak the language of Rwanda, where his father is from, but came here not knowing any English. Andre has been Dunia’s interpreter.

In December, my wife Laurie and I brought Dunia and Andre to Stony Brook Hospital where we were met by quite a few people who will be involved directly and indirectly in Dunia’s care. Among them were Michael and Tamara West, Dr. William Arens, a recently retired professor of Anthropology at SBU, who came with his wife Diane, and Ms. Mariam Isack, a colleague of Dr. Arens who works in the International Academics Program at SBU. Bill and Diane Arens and Mariam Isack all speak Swahili and were there to offer support in any way they could.

After our initial meeting in the hospital lobby, we were escorted up to the Pediatric unit of the hospital where Dunia met Mr. Michael Attard, a Child Life Specialist. Michael showed us the pediatric “safe room” explaining that the room’s toys and activities can be enjoyed by the unit’s hospitalized children without the interruption and stress of any medical treatments. We also met some of the unit’s nursing and auxiliary staff.

It was a special morning for all involved and we thank everyone for their kindness and generosity (Dunia was showered with attention and gifts).

I know many of you would like to visit Dunia in the hospital.  As of now we do not know how long he will be in the operating room, how long he will be in recovery, and how long his hospital stay will be.  We know that many of you would like to be involved but we do not want to overwhelm him with visitors this first time around.  We do have volunteers that will be staying with him overnight so he will not be alone.  We will keep you posted.

In the picture above, from left to right: William Arens, Mariam Isack, Laurie Klempner, Michael Attard, Michael West, Leon Klempner, Tamara West, and Diane Arens. Dunia and Andre are in front.

As always, we welcome your comments.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Mark Remigio, CLU,CFP Donates $1000 to SRFK

We would like to thank Mark Remigio from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for becoming our first Corporate Sponsor.  Mark presented Dr. Klempner with a check for $1000 which will be utilized for the next child in need of life changing surgery.

With Saline back home studying hard at her boarding school,  SRFK is hard at work looking for their next recipient.  Smile Rescue Fund for Kids depends on the kindness of our friends, family and community.   Join us in helping one child at a time.

News From Kenya

highfiveI just got an email update from Duncan.  He reports that Saline is doing well and will also be beginning her next school session this week.  It is with much pride that I can report that we now have nine (9) 5000 litre clean water collection tanks in place, 214 solar lamps and an active self-sustaining sewing program that has produced over 200 school uniforms.  This was all made possible by your generous donations.

The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids has grown into a grass roots charity that is now screening additional children with facial deformities to bring here for corrective surgery.

We can use your help, every few dollars helps.   Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

 

Educational Committee Progress From Kenya!

So happy to report some major progress from the education committee seen across the world in Kenya.  As you may remember the goal of the education committee is to assist with a program for the mentally and physically challenged students in their village schools. Making available materials for students to learn a trade, and also providing wheel chairs to children that have difficulty coming to school each day were among the goals accomplished by this sub committee of Smile Rescue Fund for Kids. Duncan has his work cut out for him, but is focused and determined to carry out the plan to help create a better educational experience for these children whose educational needs are not typically addressed.

Clean Water Committee Meeting Update

The following was submitted by Jennifer Crean:
We had discussions about how many families have some sort of rooftop rain collection apparatus currently and whether this brings the family sufficient water during their dry months.
Duncan states that the main rainy season is between March and May, and that the secondary rainy season is between Oct and Nov, and a little into December.  See this link for specific amounts last season http://www.meteo.go.ke/ranet/Wx/seasonal.pdf
Currently there are two types of homes and structures. Those with Thatched roofs and those with Tin roofs.
According to Duncan the best method is roof top collection which fills into big plastic collectors which can be obtained in Kenya.
For homes with Thatched Roofs, either there could be a series of gutters affixed to the exterior walls of the house, (jetting out far enough not to be encumbered by the thatched roof overhang) or Jasper’s idea was to affix a v type structure, tilted which funnels the water into a pipe and into the collector.  He proposes that a bracket would be installed on the roof to hold the collector.
Another option that was discussed is a central collection structure which allows more surface area in which to collect the rainwater, but according to Duncan must be maintained and guarded.
Hannah would like to see funnels and jugs to each house to at least make villagers are able to collect some water each time it rains, and she mentioned that water can be sterilized by leaving it out in a clear plastic jug in the sun.  She also mentioned using a tarp to collect water as well.
It is decided that prior to the big meeting on Oct 25th that we need to meet one more time to narrow the focus and pick a direction.  We also need additional information about cost of items such as the collection jugs, and pvc pipe or gutter material to use.  Duncan will work on getting pricing for these items which will need to be purchased in Kenya.
Work in progress
Your comments are welcome.

Update: African Project Group Meeting – All Committees – 10/25/13 – 7pm – Emma Clark Library

Please save the date.  This will be Duncan’s last time with us  before returning home.

Decisions need to be made, we need your input.

Getting to Know Saline and Duncan

salineduncanSaline and Duncan have been here for about a month now and I know that many of you would like to know more about them.  Saline is a very sweet loving child who has been neglected most of her life.  Being born with a facial deformity in a small village has created many challenges for her.  As you would expect, her self-esteem is very poor and she rarely gives you direct eye contact.  Her father passed away last year and I’m told her mother is overwhelmed.  I’ve spent many hours talking with Duncan, her teacher, advocate and all-around great caring man, about life in the villages of Africa.  It was hard for me to believe that so many people are living without the basic necessities of life such as clean water or electricity.  They bathe and drink from a nearby river stream – not the most ideal sanitary conditions.  Much of the little money that most families earn at the market is spent on kerosene for occasional evening lighting.  Most children do not attend school regularly as they are needed for household chores such as gathering firewood for cooking, etc.  For those that do attend, the schools do not have enough teachers or books for all children. The children with physical or mental challenges are essentially neglected.

Duncan is married with five young children of his own.  He is well educated and very well spoken and lives in a village adjacent to Saline’s.  He met Saline in the classroom about five years ago and has become her surrogate father, friend and medical advocate.  It was through his efforts to bring Saline to the local Smile Train screening that I was first contacted.  He has taken time away from his family to bring her to all of her local hospital visits and embassy interviews.  He has become her legal guardian in order to accompany her on her journey here. None of this would ever be happening without Duncan.  Neither of them has ever been on an airplane or even in a private car before.

Despite all the challenges she faces, Saline likes to hold hands and is just a 12 year-old kid. We are not sure of her real age because she has no birth certificate. She likes to play outside and definitely has a good sense of humor.  Earlier this week Duncan, Saline and I took a long walk along the Port Jefferson harbor.  As we walked I looked over at Saline, gave her a light thump on the shoulder and smiled.  She looked up momentarily and then looked down and kept walking.  About 30 seconds later, I got a not-so-light thump on my shoulder as she looked up and smiled.  One step at a time!

www.smilerescuefund.com

Saline has arrived!

Saline has safely arrived and is staying with her host family in Stony Brook ahead of her upcoming surgery. Now 12 years old, Saline suffers from a cleft palate as well as bout of flesh eating bacteria, which caused even more serious damage. Dr. Alex Dagum will lead the surgical team at Stony Brook University Hospital to repair the damage, the funding for which came from friends, family and generous donors over the past two years. A special thank you must go to the wonderful families hosting Saline and her teacher, Duncan, during their month-long stay in New York. 

Please join us in welcoming Saline to our community and wishing her well in her series of upcoming surgeries!

Our fundraising efforts are ongoing, and we appreciate any support you can offer. To donate, please visit our website at www.smilerescuefund.org