Khiri Reach Punches Big for Operation Smile

Khiri Reach, the charity-supporting independent non-profit arm of Khiri Travel, will donate memorable holiday experiences in Banteay Chhmar and Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Khao Sok, southern Thailand to Fight Night! the Operation Smile Thailand fundraiser at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, 15 October.

The event is the annual white collar charity boxing match and silent auction that raises money to give free operations to children in Thailand to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Khiri Reach is a main (“heavy weight”) sponsor.

For the silent auction, Khiri Reach will contribute an award-winning four-night trip for two to the scenic Khmer ruins of Banteay Chhmar. The trip includes an overnight in a luxury tented camp, cultural insights from the village hosts and airfare from Siem Reap to Bangkok. Khiri Reach will also donate two three-day/two-night round trips with flights, transfers and accommodation (two pax each trip) to Anurak Community Lodge in the natural splendor of Khao Sok national park in Surat Thani.

Last year Khiri Reach and travel industry partners donated THB500,000 (US$16,130) to Operation Smile. Khiri Reach also provided volunteer outreach support on the ground to the charity in Northeast Thailand. In April this year Khiri Reach donated funds and joined Operation Smile Thailand to change children’s lives in the “Colour Miles for Smiles” charity run.

In 2014, Fight Night raised a total amount of THB5.4 million (US$174,200), said Operation Smile Thailand.
In addition to Operation Smile, Khiri Reach supports 12 ‘people and planet’ community charity initiatives across the region.

Children with untreated cleft lips and/or cleft palates are far more common in rural Thailand than in urban areas.

“If left untreated, they often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking,” said Willem Niemeijer, Khiri Travel founder and chairman. “As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, and medical and psychological problems.

“Khiri Reach and Khiri Travel are therefore committed to being longterm supporters of Operation Smile Thailand.”

He added: “Three great trips to Khao Sok and Banteay Chhmar await. Let the bidding begin!”

Fight Night tickets are sold out. But companies and individuals can contribute on a longterm basis through the Bright Smiles, Happy Hearts program of Operation Smile Thailand.

Operation Smile Thailand – facts at a glance

  • In as little as 60 minutes, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever
  • Approximately one in every 700 babies in Thailand is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • A cleft lip or cleft palate operation costs approximately THB25,000 (US$800)
  • Untreated cleft lips and/or cleft palates are far more common in rural Thailand than urban areas.
  • Children with facial deformities who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems.
  • Operation Smile Thailand was registered as a Thai charitable foundation in 2001. Donations to Operation Smile Thailand are tax-deductible.
  • Operation Smile Thailand has treated over 9,000 children since 1997.

In 2006, Operation Smile Thailand partnered with the Thai Speech and Hearing Association to produce the first Thai language manual for parents and their children who need integral cleft lip and cleft palate care.