Dear Friends of Rotaplast Canada,

Thanks to your generous support at our fundraising dinner in May 2012, Rotaplast Canada was able to send a medical and volunteer team to Addis Abba in September 2012.

As always, there are many challenges when working in developing countries, however we were able to assess 91 children and perform 77 procedures. Your donation was able to sponsor one of these transformative surgeries. Azeb’s story – pictured below – is just one of them.

Sometimes we are able to help in unexpected ways. One late afternoon when our team was visiting the market we were approached by a young beggar girl asking for money. She was 16. Her name was, Addis, which means “new flower” and she had moved to Addis from Gondar to stay with relatives. She was begging to help support the family. Upon a closer look we realized she could not close her left eye and her cornea was badly burned. Her left arm and hand were badly contracted – a result of a burn as a young child. Through our Rotaract interpreters, she was told to come to see our surgical team at the Cure Hospital. Within 48 hours our two talented surgeons, Dr. Valnicek and Dr. Capozzi, working together were able to release her eyelid with a skin graft and repair her contractured arm to make it useable. It was also discovered she had no shoes and her one dress was torn and tattered. Thanks to personal donations from some of our team members we were able to buy her some new clothes – new clothes and a new life!

Once the mission is over the emotions are always bittersweet. We are anxious to return home to our families, but many Ethiopian families, for a short time, have shared their lives with us. I want to share some poignant comments that Brian Elliott, our photojournalist wrote:

“Just imagining a life and circumstances so different from what we take for granted is difficult. The faith that the families and children place in our hands before an operation is humbling. I have often heard the term “life changing” being used to describe being able to participate in one of these medical missions. The REAL life changing events are when the children leave the hospital. Now they will be able to go to school, no longer being called a “Mincheram”, or an “odd face”. Because of this surgery they will be able to eat properly, speak more clearly, and have hope for a brighter future – maybe even get married. THAT’S LIFE CHANGING!”

On behalf of Rotaplast Canada and the Ethiopian Team, we wish to thank you again for your support. Thanks to you, we continue to “change the face of the planet one smile at a time.
John McCormack, President

“P.S. To see our complete mission story go to our blog at”

Suite 600, 1628 Dickson Avenue | Kelowna, BC V1Y 9X1 | 250.763.8919

Changing the face of the planet, one smile at a time

Azeb’s story is not unusual. She is 26 and Yeabsina is her one-year-old son. Azeb and her husband ran a small shop in Bethel, a village outside Addis Abba. After their son was born with a bilateral cleft lip, her husband deserted her; he believed she or their child was evil or possessed. He left in the middle of the night taking everything in the shop, leaving Azeb destitute with a disfigured child. Ostracized from her community, she came to Addis to live with her sister hoping for a better life for herself and her son. She found us at The Cure Hospital. After the surgery she softly cried and through her tears said, “Thank you. Now I have hope that my son will have a future.”

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