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Our aid projects

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We help children with cleft lip and palate in developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Our focus countries are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam in Asia; Bolivia and Peru in Latin America; and Rwanda and Tanzania in East Africa. The projects in these countries receive comprehensive and long-term support. Costa Rica is an aid project that we support one a case by case basis. In Afghanistan, our activities are currently suspended as a result of the assumption of power by the Taliban.

The spectrum of treatments we can offer in the various countries varies. In some projects we can offer only the basic surgeries. In other projects some followup therapies are available, and in the most advanced projects we can offer the full range of medical treatments for comprehensive cleft care.

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Basic surgeries
Surgeries and some followup therapies
Surgeries plus full range of followup therapies
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India is our largest project country both in terms of the number of surgeries offered as well as in terms of the number of project locations. Since the beginning of our work in India, we have provided more than 34,000 surgeries to cleft children in need. We have 26 project locations in India, and four of these centers offer comprehensive cleft care from all relevant medical disciplines.
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In Bangladesh, around 6,000 children are born each year with cleft lip and palate. Four surgeons let us help more than 1,400 children every year. We are currently training two additional surgeons in cleft surgery.
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We started our work in Pakistan in 2016, and our Karachi team now performs some 1,000 operations a year in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, as well as on missions to hospitals in outlying areas. Supported by a three-year grant from the German Ministry of Development, starting at the end of 2020, we are investing in the establishment of an interdisciplinary cleft center.
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We have been active in Bolivia since 2010. With currently four project locations we now are the most important supplier of care for needy cleft patients in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. At two locations we are able to offer comprehensive care to our young patients.
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Our work in Peru follows the comprehensive treatment concept. The project has been active since 2006. The project is based in Lima, and the interdisciplinary team regularly travels throughout the country to provide treatment to patients outside the capital region.
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Three projects at two locations: In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, we operate two clinic projects in cooperation with the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Taiwan. Another project in Hanoi mainly serves patients in remote regions.
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Rwanda and Tanzania
There is a shortage of qualified doctors in East Africa. We are therefore very happy to have succeeded in establishing a local team around a surgeon from Rwanda and an anesthesiologist from Uganda. They are currently treating cleft patients in Rwanda and Tanzania.
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Since the beginning of our aid work in 2010, we have been able to fund more than 1,506 operations in Afghanistan. Our project sites are Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Faizabad. With the Taliban coming to power in summer 2021, our three surgical teams have had to temporarily suspend their activities.
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Costa Rica
Since 2019, we have been supporting the cleft project of our cooperation partner, Transforming Faces from Canada. The team, based in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, focuses on the interdisciplinary care of children with cleft malformation.
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It is a great fortune to be born in a country like ours. If a child with a cleft lip and palate is born in Germany, the parents receive help from the first day. The children naturally receive all necessary therapies through our healthcare system. This is not the case in many other countries in the world. There, children suffer from the effects of their cleft all their life. Many even die in the first year of life. They need our help.

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An international network

The Cleft Group

We bundle our international activities under the umbrella of The Cleft Group. The Cleft Group promotes the professional exchange between our project partners. In addition, it supports our philosophy of building independent structures in the project countries to ensure sustainable aid. Country websites are used to address local sponsors and communicate information for patients. Current members of the Cleft Group are Cleft Africa, Cleft Bangladesh, Cleft Bolivia, Cleft Pakistan, Cleft Peru and Cleft Vietnam.


Circle of Cleft Professionals (CoCP)

Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe is a founding member of the Circle of Cleft Professionals (CoCP). The CoCP is a worldwide network of cleft experts from all disciplines and leading cleft aid organizations. Its aim is to promote professional exchange and knowledge transfer in order to advance interdisciplinary help for cleft children.

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Five good reasons to donate for cleft children
We dedicate ourselves to a single cause: Treating children with cleft lip and palate. In our project countries, we offer direct medical help for the needy patients and their families. Measurable in the number of surgeries offered.
Whereever the situation in our project countries allows, we fund additional necessary followup therapies beyond the surgeries, such as speech therapy or orthodontics.
Every treatment is documented by our doctors in the project countries in our patient database and verified by us. This way we know that the donations entrusted to us are used properly.
Our goal always is to build sustainable, independently functioning structures in our project countries. To achieve this, we build up long-term partnerships and keep in close touch with our local partners.
The German Central Institute for Social Matters (DZI) certifies that we use the donations entrusted to us responsibly and properly manner. We have held this certificate continuously since 2012.
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