To celebrate its 20th anniversary, on March 20, 2014 a Thailand-based travel agency gave new smiles to 20 children through Operation Smile Thailand. Khiri Travel Group 0and partners donated 500,000 baht (US$16,000) to fund the 20 operations for children who suffer from facial deformities such as cleft lip or cleft palate, which often leads to stigma and social exclusion, sometimes even death.
The travel agency took the lead role in the fundraising effort which also saw generous donations from: Asia Transpacific Journeys (USA), Club Travel (NL), Erlebe Fernreisen (DE), Jalan (BE), Greig Smith Travels (UK), NRV Holiday (NL), Red Lantern Journeys (USA), Rickshaw Travel (UK), Riksja Travel/Rickshaw Travel Network (NL), Sawadee Reizen (NL), Take Off Erlebnisreisen (DE), and Younique Travel (NL).
In February, six staff volunteered to join an Operation Smile mission to Surin in Northeast Thailand to support the medical team, and last year, management met Dr. William P. Magee Jr., who together with his wife Kathleen founded Operation Smile in 1982. The meeting further inspired Khiri’s involvement with Operation Smile. With the help of Kevin and Therese Beauvais and the rest of the team of Operation Smile Thailand, the campaign to offer 20 children a life-changing future became a reality.
Said Niemeijer: “The work of Operation Smile Thailand is incredibly uplifting. Just look at the smiles on the faces of children and their families after the operation. This is a great way to give back to the country where the Khiri story began 20 years ago. We look forward to continue supporting the work of Operation Smile by fund-raising, volunteering and donating,” he said. “It’s part of our firm commitment to the triple bottom line.”
Khiri Travel’s involvement with Operation Smile is an extension of the work of its charitable arm, Khiri Reach, which supports people and planet projects in and around the Greater Mekong Region. Khiri Reach will soon add projects in Indonesia, the latest destination of Khiri Travel.
Khiri Travel support for Operation Smile Thailand is ongoing. Interested travel partners can still donate. Visit khiri.com or Khirireach.org.