For those of you reading this that are unaware of Operation Hope, we are a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non-sectarian charity that surgically repairs cleft lips and palates for underprivileged adults and children in the Philippines.

We currently send a team from NZ every year, it is a project that is very dear to our hearts at Auckland Plastic Surgical Centre. This simple procedure makes a real difference to the lives of the patients we treat. Seeing a smile on the face of a child that has undergone cleft palate surgery is reward enough, knowing they will have a life with more opportunity to live a “normal” life just means the world to us.

Missions typically last one week and we aim to constantly teach and develop the skills of the local medical staff who work alongside us so they are can advance their skills in caring for the patients they see, both when we are there, and when we return home. Much of the operating room equipment we use during our time in the Philippines is brought with us from home and/or donated. To help us treat as many patients as possible health clinics in the Philippines spread the word of our missions and promote the date and location of our screening day to the community, prospective patients and their parents.

Mission Operation Restore Hope 2017

Following his last operation, plastic surgeon Jeffrey Fairley takes a taxi directly to the International Airport in Manila to catch his flight home, on Sunday he returns to work in Abu Dhabi.

All of the other surgeons, nurses and helpers, together with the team from ASK foundation busy themselves with their final cleanup. All equipment has to be left in pristine condition, medications have to be sorted and counted, consumables packed away. The operating theatre we used must be left in its original state prior to the mission.

Mission Successful

Following 14 hours of daily, highly-concentrated work, everyone involved is feeling tired but very happy. Although this final effort is exhausting, it is, in fact, the first step towards the 20th Mission in March 2018.

At the beginning of the week, the international team examined 78 children, of whom 13 could not come to surgery due to other medical conditions such as respiratory infections.

The remaining 65 children have been operated on successfully with 121 complex procedures being performed. Daily ward rounds were performed, each patient being seen the day following surgery.  The nursing staff of Hospital Paranaque and the patient’s families were given important tips on the aftercare of the patients in the days following discharge. Some of the children will be returning in 2018 for further corrective surgery.


Our Thanks

The team thanks the staff of Hospital Paranaque for the excellent preparation for the mission.  The ASK Foundation, Partners und Sponsors such as WebHelps, who helped with the german ORH daily Website bulletin , the Diakonissenkrankenhaus Leipzig und Sana Klinikum Borna, who provided us with medication and consumables, AEROLOGIC, who flew the german team to Manila, FAIRNET, who provided team uniforms, and all those who stayed at home to keep the home fires burning. Our special thanks go to the Leipzig photographer Sylke Schumann, who has been travelling to Manila for the last 10 years. She writes the daily bulletins, is responsible for documentation and who, in the 20th year will publish a book concerning her experiences during previous missions.


Looking Forward

Goodbyes are always sad but we will all be back again in 2018. Almost all members of the team have private contact with other members. or meet at congresses around the world.

In a new development this year the German and New Zealand ambassadors have signalled aid, together with the ASK Foundation they will be important partners in the Philippines for future missions.

The Mission connects continents, is free from religious, political or financial burdens, and demonstrates how people can work together when each person follows the same aim.


It costs us a small amount to surgically repair one child’s cleft lip or palate and every little helps towards helping even more people.

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The Documentary

For a truly heartwarming, very emotional account of the children and their families as they go through their journey with us, please view the video.