Turbana medical program helps needy Colombian children - The Packer

Turbana medical program helps needy Colombian children

08/05/2014 09:07:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Turbana Corp., is helping physically disadvantaged children in its Colombia banana groves.

The Coral Gables, Fla.-based marketing arm of the Uniban SA cooperative, Colombia’s biggest exporter of bananas and plantains, and its social foundation, Fundauniban, helped provide 52 free corrective surgeries to children in Uraba, Colombia, suffering from cleft lip and split palate.

Children suffering from cleft lip and split palate experience social stigmatization through hearing loss, speech impediments and difficulty in eating.

The “New Smiles for Uraba” campaign seeks to generate $28,000 for the surgeries.

Turbana and Fundauniban are working with GlobalGiving’s 2014 Global Open Challenge, a charity fundraising site that unites social entrepreneurs and nonprofits with donors seeking to support causes.

So far, the challenge generated $7,807 from 57 donors, including donations from many in the produce industry, according to a news release.

People interested in contributing can learn more about the project by visiting the website.

“We are thrilled to have met the 30-day challenge,” Juan Alarcon, Turbana’s chief executive officer, said in the release.

“The community, and especially the produce community, has really rallied around the initiative and we could not be more thankful. However, there is still a great deal to be done if we are to meet our goal of $28,000.”

Families can rarely afford the several surgeries required to rectify the condition and most of the children aren’t treated.

The surgeries and rehabilitation therapy provide the children with a chance for a new life free of social alienation and physical deformity, according to the release.

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