Dubai Duty Free donates US$1.5 million to The Smile Train at Miles for Smiles fun run in Dubai – 21/11/09
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By The Moodie Report News Room
UAE. Karl Marnane of Butlers Chocolates won the second ‘Miles for Smiles’ 10k fun run in Dubai today in a rapid 40 minutes and 17 seconds.
The event raised over US$50,000 for cleft charity The Smile Train.
The women’s 5k run was won by Diageo Global Travel & Middle East’s Jane Ewing and the men’s 5k by Dubai Airports’ Eugene Barry [full results and an extended Picture Gallery to follow when the Publisher has recovered from his own harrowing 46 minutes and 1 second 10k ordeal, to be detailed on The Moodie Blog].
The first three travel retail industry runners to finish in a very fast-run 10k race (pictured left to right): Sean Staunton of Dubai Duty Free; race winner Karl Marnane of Butlers Chocolates; and James Kfouri of Paton's
Platinum sponsor Estée Lauder Companies Travel Retailing Worldwide underlined its commitment to The Smile Train
Miles for Smiles 2009 attracted fantastic sponsorship from some of the industry's leading companies
Some 85 travel retail industry executives (and around 20 local runners) took part in the event. The race was sponsored by Estée Lauder Companies Travel Retailing Worldwide, Patrón Spirits International, The Chalhoub Group, Bahrain Duty Free and ProLab Digital.
The event concluded in extraordinary style when the Dubai Duty Free Foundation announced a US$1.5 million donation to assist The Smile Train’s work in the Philippines. The funding will be used to recruit additional staff, purchase vehicles and equipment, and to perform 3,800 cleft surgeries.
Colm McLoughlin announces the Dubai Duty Free Foundation's US$1.5 million donation to The Smile Train
Colm McLoughlin presents a cheque for US$1.5 million to Priscilla Ma of The Smile Train; he is joined by company colleagues George Horan and Sinead El-Sibai and The Moodie Report Founder and Publisher Martin Moodie
Priscilla Ma thanks the travel retail industry and Dubai Duty Free for their generosity
Colm McLoughlin with a delighted Priscilla Ma of The Smile Train - note the soaring Burj Ar Arab hotel in the background
Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin said: “Since we started our Foundation in October 2004, we have been working with several local and international charities that have specifically helped children.
"With the appointment of Anne Smith as Manager of Dubai Duty Free’s Corporate Responsibility department last year, we have been able to better identify and study a number of causes that are close to our heart.
“The Smile Train, which already has a relationship with the duty free industry thanks to the efforts of Martin Moodie of The Moodie Report and his colleagues, is a charity that we admire.
"In addition to being focused on repairing clefts in children in developing countries, The Smile Train is also intent on training local doctors, nurses and hospital staff to solve the problem themselves.
"Following a good deal of research by Anne and a field trip to the Philippines, we felt that both the charity and the country were the right choice.”
The Smile Train’s Priscilla Ma, who took part in today’s race, accepted a cheque for US$1.5 million from Colm McLoughlin and described it as the single biggest donation ever made to the charity in Southeast Asia.
In a statement, The Smile Train Co-Founder and President Brian Mullaney said: “We are extremely grateful to the Dubai Duty Free Foundation for such a significant contribution.
"We look forward to working with them to roll out the three-year programme which will ultimately change the lives and fortunes of thousands of children in the Philippines.”
The Smile Train estimates that approximately 4,400 children are born with cleft lip and palate deformities annually in the Philippines and that there is a backlog of 150,000 untreated clefts.
Women's 5k race winner Jane Ewing of Diageo Global Travel & Middle East (part of a one, two,three finish in the event for Diageo) accepts her trophy from co-organiser Rowena Holland and master of ceremonies David Spillane
Men's 5k winner Eugene Barry of Dubai Airports with David Spillane and co-organiser Mandy Sime
Runners begin the warm-up for the big race - but who is that mystery woman on the right?
MEDFA President Anthony Chalhoub gets loose before heading forth on the 5k race
Antony and Cleopatra and Spiderman all made unexpected appearances at the event
Easy Rider: Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin and wife Breeda take the genteel way around
The sign says 'Finish' but first there's the small matter of 10k to be completed
Local couple Thakshila and Manjula testified movingly to The Smile Train's assistance with their son Aaryan (below)
The various winners gather on stage for this nice shot which underlines the camaraderie of the event
Glad it's all over: The Moodie Report 'Trinity' of Dermot Davitt, Mandy Sime and Martin Moodie lived to tell the tale
INTERVIEW WITH ANNE SMITH - DUBAI DUTY FREE MANAGER CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
A desperately relieved Dermot Davitt eyes the finishing line as if it was a chilled Guinness
Just before today’s race, Martin Moodie spoke to Dubai Duty Free Manager Corporate Responsibility Anne Smith about the initiative.
MARTIN MOODIE: Anne, today the Dubai Duty Free Foundation will announce an extraordinary donation to support the work of The Smile Train in the Philippines. Can you tell us the key details?
"I heard of one woman who at the age of 55 had just had surgery. No one should have to go through life with a cleft when it can be so easily and so cheaply remedied"
Manager – Corporate Responsibility
Dubai Duty Free
The donation is for almost US$1.5 million (in fact US$1,496,500) to be used over a three-year period at two centres in the Philippines: The Philippines Band of Mercy in Manila and the Maharlika Centre in Davao, Mindanao. The funds will be used to recruit additional staff, purchase vehicles and equipment, and to perform 3,800 cleft surgeries.
What made you focus on The Smile Train?
The Smile Train was selected primarily because there was a pre-existing relationship between them and the duty free industry. We were familiar with their work and had seen what a huge change can be made to a child’s life for a relatively small financial outlay.
And why the Philippines?
There’s a huge backlog of clefts in the Philippines. I haven’t been able to get a definitive number but the lowest figure seems to be around 102,000, up to as many as 140,000.
Hopefully Dubai Duty Free’s donation will help to reduce this backlog and perhaps with continued support the total Philippines backlog could be cleared within 10 years.
Another reason for choosing the Philippines is, of course, our staff at Dubai Duty Free. Almost half come from the Philippines and I suppose in some way this donation to help their compatriots is a way of repaying their service and loyalty over the years.
And what drew you to these two locations in particular?
|The loneliness of the long-distance runner|
|The fund-raising effort should continue. The smiles of thousands of children in the Philippines in coming years and of a single infant boy called Aaryan are motivation enough|
|More on The Moodie Blog|
When I went through The Smile Train’s original proposal to the Foundation the one thing that jumped out at me was the number of surgeries being done at specific centres versus others that had a lower turnover of patients.
It was just simple mathematics really and we decided to offer support to the ones who get the job done and not always in the easiest of circumstances.
The Maharlika Center in Davao particularly performs missions in some of the most dangerous territory in the world and through a bit of diplomacy and a lot of effort, they manage to negotiate a safe slot for Dr Aportadera and her team to go into the area, do the necessary surgeries and leave once done.
Anne I understand that the Dubai Duty Free Foundation is very strict in it scrutiny of potential recipients of funding and that you very carefully check out the transparency and integrity of each project. What lengths did you go to in this case?
As this is such a large donation, we probably looked a bit deeper into it than we would for a less significant amount of money.
Although The Smile Train is a very established and respected charity, we felt that it was essential that this particular donation went directly towards helping children.
To this end The Smile Train has specified exactly what our donation will buy: theatre equipment, vehicles, etc. I recently travelled to the Philippines to visit The Smile Train’s Regional Director, Rogelio la O’, who accompanied me to both centres and showed me specifically where the equipment to be purchased with our funds would be used.
Tell us please about your own experiences, impressions and emotions when you saw the two centres in the Philippines.
It was very apparent at both locations where the gaps were. For example, at the Band of Mercy in Manila the surgical area is housed in an impressive new building but during my visit as I watched one surgery I noticed that there was another operating theatre which appeared not to be in use.
"I met a 16 year old girl who was due to have surgery later in the day. In her 16 years she had never been to school; she had been hidden away because her mother didn’t want other kids to make fun of her; she had no friends."
Manager – Corporate Responsibility
Dubai Duty Free
When I queried this I was told that although they had sufficient plastic surgeons to perform more surgeries they did not have sufficient theatre equipment or beds and equipment to fill the new ward they had built.
At the Maharlika Center it is different, in that they are housed in a fairly old building filled with extremely old equipment that needs to be upgraded or in most cases replaced. Someone said they had got the operating tables from the US military when they left Korea and I’m not entirely sure they were joking.
Hopefully this money will remedy their respective problems and they will be able to double the number of surgeries they perform.
What were your key aims and objectives behind this amazing donation?
I think really to start making an impression on the backlog. Whilst in the Philippines I heard of one woman who at the age of 55 had just had surgery. No one should have to go through life with a cleft when it can be so easily and so cheaply remedied.
What memories stand out from your time in the Philippines?
You know, from my time in the Philippines there are two kids that stand out in my mind and I met them both within 15 minutes of each other.
One was a five-month old boy whose surgery I watched. His surgery cost about US$250 and took less than 30 minutes. He will never know about it and apart from a small scar it will have no impact on his life.
On leaving this boy, I met a 16 year old girl who was due to have surgery later in the day. In her 16 years she had never been to school; she had been hidden away because her mother didn’t want other kids to make fun of her; she had no friends. Her life had been seriously impacted when all it would’ve taken was US$250.