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Natalie Hay
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HONG KONG, 2 December 2016 - Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton hotels of Asia Pacific are seeing the efforts of their fundraising firsthand, following the successful conclusion of the third Smile Asia Week, which has seen funds raised top $1 million since the program started three years ago from the sale of specially-designed cakes, for Smile Asia, a global alliance of independent organizations that work together to treat children with facial deformities like cleft lips and palates.

These efforts are designed to go beyond the annual Asia-Pacific fundraiser by enabling to further see their work come to fruition as well as use their skills to assist the medical teams set up their surgeries in remote locations.

To date, more than 50 ladies and gentlemen have volunteered and supported in six locations including Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia; Changdu, Tibet; Kashgar, Xinjiang; Fengkai, Guangdong as well Paro, Bhutan and Yangon in Myanmar.

The volunteers utilize the skills they normally use in their day-to-day work providing guest services across all departments, taking their attitude and values to serving in these remote and impoverished areas. Their talents are used to support the primary care teams with setting mobile surgery stations, patient registration and the numerous tasks required to aid the success of each Smile Asia medical mission.

In 2017, a portion of the proceeds from Smile Asia Week will be used to provide Plastic Surgery Fellowships to two deserving doctors from the Kingdom of Bhutan. This would be the first such  initiative supported by Smile Asia, which is aimed at long-term self-sufficiency of countries where there is a lack of qualified professionals.

“I am thankful to Smile Asia and The Ritz-Carlton hotels of Asia Pacific for listening to our request and providing for these fellowships. This will be of a very long-term benefit to the people of Bhutan where currently we have no qualified Plastic Surgeons,” said Tandin Wangchuk, Minister of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan. “I am also grateful to Tarayana Foundation for supporting us with the Smile Asia initiative every year in Bhutan.”

“The program with Smile Asia reflects our desire to go beyond the comforts of pure fundraising in their own cities and extends it to the field as a sustainable commitment,” said Victor Clavell, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, The Ritz-Carlton. “The medical missions are a powerful representation of our service values and commitment to global citizenship. They enable our ladies and gentlemen to utilize their skills and knowledge collaboratively with the surgical teams and see firsthand the results of their efforts.”

To date, the funds raised in three years totaled $ 1,250,154 to support almost 1,515 operations. This year alone, 14,876 cakes were sold in the space of a week with all profits going directly to the medical charity.

About Smile Asia

Smile Asia is a global alliance of independent charities working together to treat facial deformities, primarily cleft lips and cleft palates. Together, these charities deliver free surgical care through medical missions and outreach centres across Asia. It is the most prominent alliance of charities in Asia with a presence in 19 countries. Smile Asia member country charities have collectively delivered over 60,000 surgeries across all programme countries in Asia since 1991. This initiative is led by The Smile Mission Ltd, Singapore, which is the International Secretariat of Smile Asia.

About Community Footprints
With a commitment to “Expand Global Citizenship,” The Ritz-Carlton social and environmental responsibility program, Community Footprints, is embedded into the company’s service values, long-range plan and business operations. This commitment is focused on children’s well-being, environmental responsibility and hunger and poverty relief. For more information, visit www.communityfootprints.com, or follow The Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RitzCarltonCSR.