Posted by Joy Miksic

A strength of Rotary is its worldwide reach, giving Rotarians many opportunities to serve in locations all around the world.  Because of the broad reach of Rotary, it is able to provide resources at both the local and at the international level. 
One of these opportunities is the Rotaplast program. Undertaken by Rotary in 1992 this medical mission has served in Guatemala, Myanmar, Columbia, India, Bangladesh and many other countries.  This year, one of our Collegeville members, and 8 of our District members were fortunate to serve as non-medical support in that program.  Our District, 7430, raised the $100,000 needed to enable Rotary to host this Guatemala Medical Mission for children and young adults who suffer from cleft palate and/or cleft lip.
The Mission ran from Sept 2nd for 10 days.  It included 7 days of surgeries and a day of follow up.  Families stood in line for hours with hope that their child could be a part of the program.  Many of the children had no prior surgery, which means that they could not eat or communicate properly, and were likely to be shunned by their community.  Many can’t attend school due to their incapacity to speak.   
The Rotaplast medical team was able to serve 113 patients, doing surgeries ranging from lip repair to bone grafts to closing the gap in the roof of the mouth.  It was truly amazing to see the love and care that was given to these very special children.  Every child went home with a bigger smile.