Our Impact
Lending Smiles to Innocent Faces 
 

There is nothing more endearing than a child’s smile.

Yet, sadly, many children around the world are born with cleft deformities. Approximately 1 in 700 children worldwide is born with cleft conditions, making it difficult for them to eat, drink, speak and smile.

To help address this global challenge, Mubadala joined forces with Operation Smile UAE, to sponsor three international volunteering missions in 2023. The first mission went to Egypt, where five Mubadala volunteers, along with a medical team from Mubadala Health, supported children as they underwent transformative procedures for cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial conditions.

Out of 143 cases screened during the week-long mission, 78 surgeries were performed successfully, allowing those children to lead a happy life free of bullying and stigma.

The second mission took Mubadala deeper into the African continent. In Koforidua, a Ghanaian city located some 60 kilometers to the north of the capital Accra, seven Mubadala volunteers assisted the Operation Smile team who carried out 89 life-changing surgeries for young patients.

In parallel to the cleft surgeries, a dental and nutrition campaign was launched, during which over 20 dental corrections were done alongside 79 nutrition briefings. Through donations, Mubadala employees raised over AED 22,000, which was used to provide basic needs and essential supplies for patients and their families.

Our partnership with Operation Smile UAE is in line with our continued commitment to making positive change in communities around the world. Further missions are planned, including returning to Egypt, with Mubadala’s team of volunteers joining medical teams from different parts of the world.

Mubadala’s Employee Volunteering Program is a purpose-driven engagement platform that provides meaningful opportunities for employees to contribute their time, skills and charity to the community. The Program was launched in 2018, with a focus on supporting the Special Olympic World Games and has continued to evolve, enabling the organization to make a difference through volunteering activities in line with its responsible investment approach.

The accompanying videos show highly emotional moments involving both parents and volunteers who lived together through the whole process of screening and testing all the way to celebrating the resounding success of the operations.



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Reflections of some of our volunteers on their experience


Amani Al Nuaimi

Paralegal, UAE Investments

 
What motivated you to take part in the campaign?
My motivation to be a part of Operation Smile in Ghana as a volunteer stemmed from a deep and heartfelt desire to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need. The thought of children and their families in Ghana facing the challenges of cleft lip and cleft palate conditions touched my heart in a profound way, and I couldn't ignore the opportunity to contribute to their well-being and quality of life. The mission of Operation Smile resonated with me on a personal level, as I firmly believed that everyone should have access to proper healthcare and the chance to live a fulfilling life. The idea that a simple surgical procedure could transform the futures of these children and their families was both humbling and inspiring to me.

Describe your experience in general, the most exciting moments, and your main takeaways.
Working closely with the children and families at the hospital provided me with a deeper understanding of their needs and challenges. The most exciting moments of my mission were undoubtedly the interactions with the children I cared for. Their laughter, smiles, and innocent joy filled my heart with warmth and brought a profound sense of fulfilment. I built strong connections and bonds with those children and their parents. It became a deeply meaningful aspect of my experience and witnessing their transformation was incredibly gratifying. In addition to the children and families, I had the privilege of meeting like-minded volunteers from around the world. We shared a common passion for making a positive impact and as we faced challenges and celebrated successes together, lifelong friendships naturally formed. The camaraderie among the volunteers was inspiring and these newfound friendships became a cherished part of my volunteer journey. What truly made this experience even more special was that I got to travel on this trip with the Mubadala team. Together, we embarked on this meaningful mission, and the shared experiences brought us closer than ever. Our collective dedication to helping others and the emotional journey we went through forged a unique bond among us. The memories we created together during our time in Ghana will forever be etched in our hearts.

How do you evaluate the impact of Mubadala’s involvement in this campaign?
The impact of Mubadala in this mission was undoubtedly significant and life-changing for many children in need. They provided the opportunity and funding for these surgeries and played a crucial role in transforming the lives of these children and their families. Mubadala’s contributions had a ripple effect on the community as well; by investing in the healthcare and well-being of these children, they brought smiles to their faces but also hope and inspiration to others facing similar challenges.

 


Kelly Potter

Vice President, Group Finance

 
What motivated you to take part in the campaign?
Seeing the footage of the first mission to Egypt. I also used to be embarrassed of my smile until I had some surgery later in my life, so the charity resonated with me because of this. I know how improving your smile transforms your confidence literally overnight.

Describe your experience in general, the most exciting moments, and your main takeaways.
It was a privilege to be selected for this initiative. The most challenging part was going to the patient shelter where hundreds of families were sleeping under nets on mats, waiting patiently for their child to be assessed at the hospital for suitability for the surgery. Many children had been rejected elsewhere due to the complexity of their condition, and for many this was their final hope.  I came to realize during my time there that this condition is not only physical, in terms of the appearance, and the child’s ability to talk and eat. These children are frequently not accepted by their families and communities, which is psychologically damaging for them and their parents.


How do you evaluate the impact of Mubadala’s involvement in this campaign?
The mission has changed lives of over 100 children and their families. Mubadala’s support does not just stop at surgery. Even those not eligible to get the surgery are being supported through nutrition programs to make the children eligible in the future when their health and weight are at the level required. Mubadala also provided much needed dental support and speech therapy for those children who required this, whether they are eligible or not for the surgery. I admired the dedication and resilience of the medical staff who worked long days consecutively to see as many children as possible. The ability to come together and gel for one cause without having necessarily worked together before is impressive and the epitome of teamwork.

 


Saeed Alblooshi

Director, Human Capital

 
What motivated you to take part in the campaign?
I have always wanted to make a personal contribution to causes that would have a great impact on others. and I was fortunate to be part of Ghana’s team.

Describe your experience in general, the most exciting moments, and your main takeaways.
I can proudly say that it was one of the most close-to heart experiences I have ever had. There are many takeaways: first and foremost, it has reminded me that we should always be thankful to Allah for all what we have, and grateful to our wise leadership who are sparing no effort to enhance the standards of living for all those who call the UAE home.

 


Maryam Altamimi

Analyst, Direct Investments

 
What motivated you to take part in the campaign?
I am very passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community, it’s a great opportunity to connect and widen my horizon. It basically gives me a sense of belonging. When I learned about the Operation Smile campaign, I longed to be part of this life-changing experience to the patient and their families. Hearing from my colleague Amal about the first successful mission sponsored by Mubadala was very inspiring and heart touching. I was very excited to be selected to join the second mission in Ghana. Although it was an unknown destination in terms of location and language, that wasn’t a barrier to me.

Describe your experience in general, the most exciting moments, and your main takeaways.
We went through an incredible journey filled with emotions, blessings, and gratitude. With all the stories we heard and experienced, I got emotionally attached to many families and their kids whom I carried, hugged, played and prayed for to be eligible for the surgery and actually go through it.

Screening days were very stressful as we got to know the patients and their families, and we had to wait with them for the decision. I am very happy for the number of patients who got to do the surgery during the mission. I remember the moment when many families got discharged together. They were singing to us beautiful words “God bless you all”. It was very lovely and heart-warming. Being on the ground, interacting with the families was very special and memorable. Witnessing their fear and stress transform to happiness and laughter post-surgery can’t be expressed in words, As a team, we tried our best to support the families by being there, cheering them up and encouraging them to be strong for their kids.

When talking about my experience, I have to mention the youngest baby we met who was only two months old. It was too early for her to do the surgery as she wasn’t fit enough; she needed to grow and gain some weight. The mother broke my heart as she burst to tears when she was told that her child was not doing the surgery at this cycle. I felt really sorry for her, particularly when she told me that her husband had abandoned the family, leaving her to take care of her five kids all by herself.

I would really encourage everyone to be part of these missions no matter where the location is. You might think language would be a barrier; but trust me, when you are there looking into their eyes you would understand them easily.

How do you evaluate the impact of Mubadala’s involvement in this campaign?
Mubadala strives to build a sense of commitment in giving back to communities, and partnering with Operation Smile is a proof of that. Supporting and facilitating employees to be part of such missions for great causes demonstrates Mubadala’s eagerness to positively impact communities. In line with its responsible investment approach, Mubadala is providing opportunities to the employees to make a difference through volunteering their time and skills.

 


 

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