July 2017
Bilateral agreement on cooperation signed between the University Milano Bicocca and the University UEA-Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

  On December 4th, 2009 Progetto Sorriso accomplished an important step with the University Milano-Bicocca and the University UEA-Bukavu, south Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. A bilateral agreement was indeed signed between these two universities, represented respectively by their chancellors Prof. Fontanesi and Prof. Banyene.

The meeting was also attended by Prof. Alberto Bozzetti, lecturer at the University Milano-Bicocca, who has been involved in the activities of Progetto Sorriso for years. The agreement was possible thanks to the effort and activities of Progetto Sorriso in the last five years in the difficult areas of the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in Burundi and in Rwanda.

The main goal of this agreement is to give didactic support to the Hospital of Uvira. The latter is used by the University of Bukavu as hospital of reference for the education and training of the students of the Faculty of Medicine. Moreover, didactic activities will be organized in other venues and for students of other faculties, like Economics and Agricultural Sciences.

The engagement of the volunteers of Progetto Sorriso in Burundi started in 2005 with Prof. Enrico Sesenna, lecturer at the University of Parma. This has allowed getting in touch with a reality substantially different from the one the volunteers had experienced in Bangladesh. The cultural and religious realities of central Africa are very different from those in Bangladesh, but both countries share the need for health and humanitarian aid. After having worked for three years in Burundi, after having performed procedures, built up relationships with volunteers, with health organizations and persons of good will, the Association decided in 2008 to install its strategic help centre for Central Africa/Region of the Great Lakes in Uvira.

This town is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the border with Burundi and a few kilometres away from Rwanda. Thus, it was possible to establish in a regional hospital, namely the Hospital of Uvira, a health centre offering specialized surgery –procedures for facial disfigurements- to patients coming from the three abovementioned countries.

Since the very first year of work in Uvira, it was clear that it was essential to re-design the entire health service in the hospital, starting with the basic notions on hygiene and sterility. It was the welcoming attitude of the local colleagues and their joyful eagerness to learn that led to the agreement described above. The director of the hospital has proved to be a person of great open-mindedness and good will.

After two years of work and cooperation, that is, after having performed procedures on many patients, introduced a neonatal doctor who is able to save the lives of small patients, begun a training for the identification of the most critical states in paediatrics, installed machineries to produce disinfectants, suggested and realized protocols of sanitation and hygienisation , the Association decided to suggest the continuative and global support of a university to the Hospital of Uvira.

This step was taken given the need of such support, but also on the basis of the admirable will of the local health personnel. All of this would not have been possible, though, if Prof. Alberto Bozzetti, director of Maxillo-Facial Surgery at the Hospital of San Gerardo in Monza, would not have displayed an infectious enthusiasm that managed to involve the heads of the University Milano Bicocca- third university of Milan- as well as to get the Rector of the University of Bukavu to Italy. In January 2010, the projects of collaboration and cooperation will be formalized.

An operational mission is being planned in Uvira for the months of May and June with the volunteers of Progetto Sorriso and members of the University Milano-Bicocca. We believe this is an important event for countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. These countries are facing severe economic and social issues, but they can hope for and dream a little with us of a better future. It is also an important event for Progetto Sorriso.

The Association has made possible the encounter between two very distant worlds and will be an instrument to ensure that this meeting may be the forge for positive and concrete activities.

Progetto Sorriso nel Mondo- ONLUS  
International association for the treatment and cure of cranio-facial malformations and deformities in developing countries.

Progetto Sorriso nel Mondo (Smile Project in the World) is a non-profit organisation that operates in Bangladesh since 1997, in Africa (Congo and Burundi) since 2005, and in Guatemala since 2008. It deals mainly with the correction of facial disfigurements and the healing of burns.

Each year Smile Project returns to these countries and operates always in the same hospital and always in the same period of year. In this way, the association offers a point of reference and source of hope for hundreds of dispossessed people.
Smile Project realises every year three missions in Bangladesh, one mission in Africa (Congo and Burundi) and one in Guatemala.

The association, now recognised internationally, is exclusively formed of volunteers who offer professional skills and competences, each one according to their individual ability. Over time, Smile Project has decided that it is of fundamental importance to also sustain projects of a social character, like the construction of a house for homeless children and a shelter for the children of women imprisoned in the jail of Jessore, in Bangladesh.

You can sustain the association with donations and contributions (tax-deductible). Bank details:
IBAN IT 40 J 03111 01626 000000012200
addressed to Progetto Sorriso nel Mondo - ONLUS, UBI Banca Ag. 124 C.so di P.ta Ticinese n.1 20123 Milano.

Via Torino 61,
20123 Milano
CF. 97318210156

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