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About DCKH

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Our aid for children with cleft lip and palate is based on a strong international network of passionate individuals committed to our mission. In our project countries, more than 250 local doctors, therapists and project staff provide accessible medical care for patients in need, even in remote regions. Volunteer German specialist doctors support our local partners with their knowledge.

Cooperations with international aid organizations let us further expand our projects around the world to offer more treatments. Many charities and foundations at home and abroad, committed businesses and many many private donors support us – sometimes for many many years now – letting us provide dependable care to cleft children.


“Again and again I am touched by our ability to change a child’s life for the better. We want to motivate people to get involved and join our network of help. Together, we can make a big difference.”

Prof. Frank Feyerherd, MD,
Anesthesiologist and DCKH board member in an honorary capacity

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Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe in numbers
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Every year, our teams around the world provide some 6,800 cleft surgeries. Most of our patients are children.
We provided surgeries to children with cleft lip and palate in 48 locations in Asia, Africa and South America in 2020.
The joyful result of our efforts 2002-2021: 64,593 surgeries for cleft patients in need funded.
Our network: More than 250 local surgeons, therapists, and other project workers around the world.
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Our association
Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe was founded in 2002. The non-profit association is located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. The association consists of eleven paid employees as well as the association’s organs: the executive board, board of directors, board of trustees and the general assembly.
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Team Freiburg

Our charity is based in Freiburg im Breisgau. Nine permanent employees (some part-time), are responsible for the management, development and coordination of our aid projects, fundraising, communication and donor support.

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Ulrike Claassens, Philip Hehn, Femke van Praagh, Stefan Rivald, Andrea Weiberg, Alexander Gross, Nicole Reinbold (left to right, missing: Stefanie Huter, Veronika Mainka)
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Your contacts
Alexander Gross
Chairman of the board
+49 761 137976-18
Andrea Weiberg
Managing director
+49 761 137976-15
Ulrike Claassens
Donor communications / project supervision
+49 761 137976-11
Philip Hehn
Project assistant
+49 761 137976-0
Stefanie Huter
Project management Latinamerica
Veronika Mainka
Institutional donors
+49 761 137976-17
Femke van Praagh
+49 761 137976-13
Nicole Reinbold
Institutional donors
+49 761 137976-14
Stefan Rivald
Project development
+49 761 137976-0
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Association organs


The Executive Board of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe consists of four members: Alexander Gross as Chairman of the Board and Andrea Weiberg as Managing Director are appointed by the General assembly of the association members as the operational Board as per Section 26 of the German Civil Code (BGB). Together with the two honorary board members, Prof. Dr. med. Frank Feyerherd and Thomas Schneider, they form the overall board.
Prof. Dr. Frank Feyerherd (pro bono member of the board)
Frank Feyerherd was an anesthetist at the Greifswald University Clinic until his retirement and now works in a private clinic. He led our Cameroon project in Ngaoundéré for over ten years. As an anesthetist, the improvement of the anesthetic conditions and thus the safety of the surgeries are of particular concern to him.
Thomas Schneider (pro bono member of the board)
For entrepreneur and master tanner Thomas Schneider, corporate social responsibility is a personal obligation. As the founder ISA TanTec, a group of tanneries with locations in China, Vietnam, the USA and Italy, he advocates for environmentally friendly processes in leather processing. He has been a member of the DCKH board since 2018.
Alexander Gross (Chairman of the board)
Alexander Gross, a founding member of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe, manages the association’s operations in full-time in addition to his board work. The former Bundesliga professional ice hockey player studied sociology, education and politics in Freiburg. He started his professional career in Switzerland, where among other things he advised non-profit organizations.
Andrea Weiberg (Managing director)
Before joining the DCKH team in 2018, Andrea Weiberg, a business administration graduate with a focus on marketing, had worked at various companies and advertising agencies. Looking for meaningful work, she found her way to Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe and has since been responsible for raising the funds that let us help “our” cleft children. She was appointed Executive director effective August 1, 2021.
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Ute Henninger-Sehling and Dr. Christian Rüsch were elected as the association’s auditors for a three-year term lasting until the 2023 general assembly. The auditors supervise the board financially and exercise control over the association’s asset management.
Ute Henninger-Sehling
Dr. Christian Rüsch
Economist and tax advisor
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Board of Trustees

The board of trustees of Deutsches Cleft Kinderhilfe e. V. assists the board with their specialist medical expertise. The six volunteer members have extensive experience in the field of cleft lip and palate treatment and are specialists in medical disciplines relevant to the treatment of cleft.
Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon and dentist
Dr. Ulrike Lamlé
Specialist in ENT and General Medicine
Prof. Dr. Dr. Götz Ehmann
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon and plastic surgeon
Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Dieckmann
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon and dentist
Gunther Au-Balbach
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
Dr. Jos van den Hoek
Dentist and orthodontist
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Extract from the charter

  • Implementation and support of medical aid projects for the treatment of patients with cleft lip and palate in […] close cooperation with local doctors and therapists
  • Implementation and support of measures to improve awareness in the population
  • Implementation and support of training, further education and specialization measures […]
  • Technical, organizational and financial support for the establishment of a suitable technical infrastructure […]
  • Assumption of costs for free or inexpensive treatments for needy patients with cleft lip and palate, including […] aftercare, especially for children and adolescents
  • Strengthening of the general interest in working with and with cleft patients

You can download the complete charter here (only availabe in German).

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Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe Foundation

Help and heal sustainably – that is the motto of the Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe Foundation, which supports selected projects of our charity. The foundation was established by the Stuttgart-based oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Dr. med. Heinz Lübbe, who was the Chairman of the board of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. from 2005 until his death in September 2015.

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Heinz Lübbe was not only an excellent doctor – he was also a visionary and worked as an energetic manager for the charity. He was committed to providing cleft children in developing countries with qualified and comprehensive treatment. The establishment of the foundation was his last major initiative, which he initiated despite a serious illness.

Dr. Dr. Heinz Luebbe
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Partner associations “D-A-CH”

Therwil and Dornbirn – our two partner associations in Switzerland and Austria are pursuing a great goal with us: to give children with cleft lip and palate a chance in life. Our Austrian partner association was only established late last year under the name Austrian Cleft Children’s Aid and is currently still organizing itself. Further information will follow shortly.

In cooperation with Swiss doctors, the board and employees of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe founded a partner association in Switzerland in 2008. The Swiss Aid Society for Cleft Children (Schweizer Hilfe für Spaltkinder, SHfS), based in Therwil near Basel, has funded more than 200 operations in our Indian treatment centers every year – since December 2013. The Swiss team works on an unpaid, pro bono basis.

Our Austrian partner association, the Austrian Cleft Kinderhilfe, was founded in cooperation with our supporter Amann Girrbach AG from Dornbirn in Vorarlberg. The association was founded in late 2019 and is based in Dornbirn. Austrian Cleft Kinderhilfe funds operations for cleft children in our projects in India and Bangladesh.

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Finances and accountability
In our project countries, many families do not have access to medical care. As an aid organization for children with cleft lip and palate from needy families, we pay the costs of the treatment. This is a service that is covered by the health insurance companies in our country. It is our utmost concern to handle the donations entrusted to us for this purpose with care. Your donation goes where it is needed – to the children who need it. The work in our project countries is organized independently by our project partners, and the patients are cared for by teams of local medical professionals. Specialist training and further education, as well as the associated transfer of knowledge between our partners worldwide, are very important to us. The result is low treatment costs combined with high quality.
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Finances and accountability
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Sources and use of funding

As per our statutes, we act essentially as a health insurance for needy patients with cleft lip and palate. With your donations, we fund the treatments and maintain our aid structures in the project countries. Every treatment is documented by the doctors on site in our patient database.

After checking the documentation, we reimburse the costs to our project partners on a monthly basis in the form of a flat-rate fee per operation or therapy session. Currently this is an average of 300 euros per operation performed.

This includes, among others. the hospital stay, anaesthetics and medication as well as an expense allowance for the doctors, nurses and project coordinators. Our partner hospitals usually provide us with the medical infrastructure below the usual market price; this is also covered by the operation fee.

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Donation income and spending

We measure our success primarily by the number of operations provided in our project countries. Since 2016, we have been happy to see a large increase in the number of operations. In 2021, we funded more than 6,800 surgeries – an increase of almost 600 over our result from 2019, our most successful pre-pandemic year. We spent 2,484,920 euros towards our statutory purposes.

Our 2021 expense structure will be determined by our annual financial statement and published later this year (2022).

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Number of Operations
1,354,499 €
1,615,931 €
1,714,500 €
2,020.300 €
1,761,000 €
2,484,920 €
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Publicity and administrative spending

We can’t do our work without spending money on advertising and administration. Without, we would be unable to raise donations and organize their use. Nevertheless, we try to keep this spending as low as possible. We do not use giveaway items such as pens, stationery or other “incentives” in our fundraising that unnecessarily cause costs through their production and in postage. To win new supporters, our TV spot is an incredibly valuable tool. This spot is aired free of charge on various TV stations of the RTL media group, a huge gesture of support for which we are deeply grateful.

In 2021, the share of spending on fundraising and advertising was 14 percent, and administrative costs accounted for less than 3 percent of our spending. Almost 83 percent of spending went directly towards our cleft treatment projects.

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DZI Seal of approval

A token of dependability: Since 2012, we have been proud bearers of the DZI seal of approval for our responsible use of our donors’ funds. The first award was based on an audit of our 2010 spending and the certification process is repeated annually. The seal is awarded by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI), based in Berlin. The DZI seal of approval certifies that the organization bearing it is responsible and careful in the use of the donations entrusted to them.

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Annual reports

Our annual financial statements are audited by an external company in accordance with the exacting DZI guidelines. This detailed financial report is published on October 1 of the following year in our online annual report, which you can also download as a PDF below. In the preliminary version, the focus is on a comprehensive review of the year with impressions from our project countries. You can also order this preliminary report from us in printed form. Simply use our contact form.

Only the annual reports since 2018 are available in English. You can download older reports in German from the German version of our site.

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Annual Report 2021
zum PDF-Download
Annual Report 2020
zum PDF-Download
Annual report 2019
zum PDF-Download
Annual report 2018
zum PDF-Download
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Nonprofit status

As a promotor of charitable purposes and public health, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. is exempt from corporation tax in accordance with Section 5 (1) No. 9 of the Corporation Tax Act and exempt from trade tax in accordance with Section 3 No. 6 of the Trade Tax Act (exemption notice from the Freiburg-Stadt Tax Office, tax number 06469/47127, January 13, 2023 for the last assessment period 2019 to 2021).

Due to our nonprofit status, we can issue donation receipts for donations received. In order to reduce the administrative burden, these are sent out collectively at the beginning of the following year for all donations made by a donor in the previous year.

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