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About Us

In 1999, New Zealander, David Cowie, visited Eastern Samar in the Philippines. During a visit to a local hospital with Mrs Annie Ambil (the wife of the then Governor of Eastern Samar), he came across a small boy named Ruel.

Ruel’s small, emaciated body lay on a simple steel bed in this under-staffed and under-resourced facility. His face was scarred by a double cleft lip and palate, causing serious difficulty in swallowing. With his tiny body wracked with viruses and infections, Ruel was near death.

With the help of Governor Ambil and his wife, Ruel received the food supplements needed to sustain his life, whilst David raised the necessary funds for Ruel’s surgery. In a process taking years, Ruel was nurtured to health and given life-altering surgeries. Today Ruel has made a full recovery and is now a healthy growing boy!

Ruel’s story was the beginning of the Ruel Foundation. Today the Ruel Foundation and its "Give a Smile" Cleft Lip programme has helped thousands of children and their families around the world.

Ruel is just one of the hundreds of thousands of children living with the physical and emotional effects of Cleft Lip and Palate. Most of these children will never be able to afford and access the medical services required to give them a normal life. With your help we are changing this and giving these children back their smiles.

The Ruel Foundation is a fully registered Charitable Trust in New Zealand (CC11212) and the USA 501(c)3.

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