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Smiles for two Cape Town cousins who head on a mission to Ghana

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Two Cape Town learners will be travelling to Ghana for Operation Smile’s mission in the region, which will see renewed smiles on the faces of young children and adults through cleft lip repair surgeries and other vital operations and programs.  Cousins Farah and Jumana Logday share a similar aspiration for wanting to assist those in need and to make a difference in the lives of others through humanitarian work. The pair have both been involved with Operation Smile for four years through their school’s fund-raising efforts for the organization.

Farah, appointed head of the organization at her school this year, shared that she was informed of Operation Smile’s incredible work through her high school, Islamia College, who would annually raise funds for the organization. The money raised would then be sent to the organization so that life changing cleft lip or cleft palate repair surgeries could be performed.

Cousin Jumana, 17, was elected chairperson of the organization at her Bergvliet High school where she attends.

“I was instantly drawn to the noble work that they do, and I knew that I obviously wanted to be involved,” exclaimed Jumana.

“We will be educating the learners on how to brush their teeth, because some of these learners, especially in the rural areas, don’t even know what a toothbrush is and how to look after themselves,” said Farah.

“I think Operation Smile definitely makes a difference in people’s lives. From previous missions, one can see how they have transformed people’s lives completely. By creating a better lifestyle for them, they get jobs, because some people actually think they’re monsters. And the children become ashamed of it and that’s not okay. So that’s what drives us to want to do better in the world,” she continued.

The cousins are only two South Africans who will be joining Operation Smile’s non-medical student volunteer team. In Ghana, they will be in the Koforidua region. In preparation for the trip, the duo has been doing extensive research on Ghana, its people and the culture.

When asked how the grade 11 pupil manages to find the time to juggle both her studies and her work with Operation Smile, Jumana said:

“Being offered such an amazing opportunity, you have to make the time to balance studying for your exams as well as preparing for the trip.”
Jumana, who foresees herself working in the humanitarian field described herself as “a passionate and dedicated person”.

“These are the basic qualities that I feel one needs to have in order to do any humanitarian work.”
She intends to join NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders or Gift of the Givers.

Farah is passionate about the environment and animals and has been doing lots of voluntary work with local organizations.

“Giving back to humanity does not necessarily mean that you have to be in the medical field,” she says.

“I really think that it is always in the hands of the Almighty…He will put us on that path and He will guide us,” adds Farah.

Jamana is inspired by her selfless parents and their work in the community.

“You can’t change the world by doing so many big things, but it’s the little things that count.”

“As Audrey Hepburn, the famous actress and humanitarian said, nothing is more important than empathy for another human being suffering. We have to feel for one another if we going to survive with dignity.”

A last request made by the two was that people should take the time out to smile more often, as it is a form of charity.

“I think everyone should be a little more charitable to make the earth a better place,” Farah concluded. VOC

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