Mary Ann Kafati is the President of the Ruth Paz Foundation, which was created in honor of her mother. This foundation is dedicated to helping bring medical and health care to the poor of Honduras.Kafati hosts a large number of surgical and medical teams that travel to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to provide free medical, dental, and surgical care to the poor. The Ruth Paz foundation has established a clean room for burn care, a free medical clinic for the poor, and pays the travel expenses for burn victims to reach the help they need in the United States. Kafati and her foundation help to make it possible for EARTHSPEAK to work effectively in her country.
Dr. Jorge Palacios is the director of the Smile Train incubator program in Ecuador. He is also the founder and president of Rostros Felices. Dr. Palacios began his work many years ago working with Interplast surgical teams. He founded and funded a burn unit for his country and has served the poor for many years. He is a cheerful, high energy man who meets all challenges with good spirit and many talents. Dr. Palacios uses all his contacts and knowledge to help EARTHSPEAK work effectively in Ecuador.
Dr. Shankar Rai, a Nepalese plastic surgeon, has been the director of the Smile Train Incubator program in Nepal. Since 1999 he has performed 2500 cleft surgeries,
at no charge to the patient, while training four surgeons, six nurses, and four paramedics. Dr. Rai began his career as a paramedic in a remote health post in the countryside of Nepal. He went to medical school in Katmandu and then on to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to earn a degree in general surgery. Dr. Rai began his cleft lip and palate work with an Interplast surgical team working in Nepal. Dr. Rai and his associates help EARTHSPEAK volunteers during their visits to Nepal.
Dr. Reddy is head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (AYJNIHH) in Southern India. He partnered with EARTHSPEAK in February 2004 to create a model program, "From Cleft Palate to Clear Speech" in the city of Hyderabad located in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. It is anticipated that this model will be used throughout India to get help to needy children with cleft lip and palate. For over 20 years Dr. Reddy has held a vision of offering the multiprofessional care needed by cleft patients for full recovery. His efforts are supported by the top levels of administration at Nizams as well as leading health officials in Andhra Pradesh.