In honour of Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, in this month’s column, we share three stories from across the globe. Not only celebrating the courage and strength of these individuals and their families but also keeping up the momentum of awareness surrounding clefts.
- Edoh, (aged 65) lived with the challenges of an untreated cleft for an astounding six and a half decades, facing numerous struggles within a culture that attributed his condition to a voodoo curse. This led to him being isolated and enduring ridicule from others. However, Edoh’s life took a remarkable turn thanks to Smile Train. Through our support, he underwent life-changing cleft surgery, and now, he is always smiling. Edoh’s story shows that your life can change for the better at any age, and he and his family now ‘feel free’.
- Elsa, a mother from Cochabamba, Bolivia, faced sadness and uncertainty when her youngest son, Luis, was born with a cleft. She wondered if he would ever be okay. The cost of surgery seemed overwhelming until she discovered Smile Train. Luis’s life took a hopeful turn at just three months old when he underwent a cleft palate surgery, which had a transformative impact on their lives. Today, at 11 years old, Luis fills his family’s life with an abundance of smiles.
- Makiba is the second child of Hana, who had witnessed the challenges of clefts within her family, and tragically lost her first child, who was born with a cleft. Hana was therefore very worried about Makiba. However, hope emerged when Smile Train came into their lives and Makiba received two life-changing cleft surgeries. These surgeries brought not only physical transformation but also a joy to their family.
If you are interested in hearing more about Smile Train and how we operate around the world, and to read more stories, please visit: www.smiletrain.org.uk/.