The Hanoi International Women’s Club Awards Grant to ICSF

The Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC) is composed of influential international women of high standing. Many are the wives of ambassadors or other officials from various countries, while others are successful businesswomen. One of the main interests of this women’s group is to provide help to poor Vietnamese children. They were aware that many children living in Vietnam have correctable facial deformities and are in desperate need of help. “But which surgical organization should we help?” was the main question. The club’s members were aware that many of the teams that come to operate do so in a very rapid fashion, performing many surgeries in a short period of time and then leaving the local people to handle surgical complications or healing problems.

Cuong (Vietnam) before cleft lip surgery (left), and one week after (right).

Many teams seemed more interested in vacationing than in helping the local children. For these reasons the HIWC was immediately interested when they heard about the International Children’s Surgical Foundation and its goals and values. They liked ICSF’s standards of care, including taking lots of time and care with each child and then staying afterward to care for the children. Most of all, they were drawn to ICSF’s goal of methodically teaching local doctors.

It was a natural consequence that the HIWC contacted ICSF about receiving a grant to perform cleft lip and palate surgery for Vietnamese children. Subsequently, after a formal application process, ICSF was awarded a grant of $3,000 USD to cover a portion of in-hospital costs for ICSF’s August cleft palate mission to the Hai Phong Children’s Hospital.

“We feel honored that ICSF was singled out by this elite women’s organization,” says Dr. Geoff Williams, president of ICSF. “I think the more they learned about us, the more they realized that we care deeply about our little patients and their families and are committed to giving them the very best care possible.”

Twenty-nine children received free, life-changing surgery at ICSF’s annual Hai Phong Children’s Hospital cleft palate mission August 10-25, with a sizable portion of the in-hospital costs funded by the HIWC grant. ICSF is scheduled to return to the Hai Phong Children’s Hospital in March, 2016. And, yes, the HIWC is planning on helping again!

Design by Melissa Ventura, Development by Drew Bertola and Walter Martin.