There are many cleft children in need of help in India. Some 40,000 children are born with cleft lip and / or palate every year in India. Many older children and even adults never got treatment and have to live with untreated clefts. They desperately need help. India has enjoyed great economic progress, but many Indians, especially in the rural areas, continue to live in deep poverty.
Of the 1.4 billion Indians, as many as 900 million still live in poverty. Children suffer the worst, and cleft children are particularly hard hit. Their visible disfigurement and their “different” looks often leave them cast out by their communities.
Even the parents often falsely believe that the cleft is a punishment for a sin. Fathers sometimes leave the families to escape what they feel is an unbearable situation. Mothers are shamed for bringing the “curse” into the family. The children are hidden out of shame and have to live lonely lives of isolation. Often, the families do not know that the cleft can be healed.
But without treatment, the children face hard lives. One in twelve cleft children in India dies before their first birthday. They die from malnutrition and neglect, or from diseases they can’t survive in their weakened state. Only long-term aid and education can change this sad situation. This in turn requires the help of many committed partners in the communities, patience and commitment.
We have been providing help to cleft children in India since 2003. India is our largest project country: In most years, some 3,000 surgeries are carried out at more than 20 locations across India. In 2021, our teams provided 3,271 surgeries – even though they Covid was limiting the accessibility.
In Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mysore, we offer comprehensive cleft therapy in addition to the basic surgery. Interdisciplinary teams including pediatricians, orthodontists, ear nose and throat specialists, psychotherapists and speech therapists help the patients before and after their surgeries.
Since 2015, our treatment offers for cleft children in India are being organized by our partner organization ABMSS (Akhila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja) in Bangalore. ABMSS is the contact for the head surgeons and their teams.
Indians with cleft suffer greatly, particularly those in the many rural regions. Children with a cleft lip and palate have little chance of growing up normally. The surgery is a first step towards a better life. Please help the cleft children of India with your donation!
Modern Europeans were made aware of the sea route to India in 1498 by the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama. British colonial rule in India began around 1600. In 1858, India officially became part of the British Empire, with Queen Victoria assuming the title of Empress of India. Pakistan and Bangladesh were then also part of Imperial India.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who led India to independence in 1947 with non-violent resistance. The Indian subcontinent was divided, two independent states emerged: Muslim Pakistan and India, which is predominantly inhabited by Hindus. On January 30, 1948, a radical Hindu murdered Mahatma Gandhi, who was committed to peace between religions throughout his life.
Despite recent economic growth, India remains a developing country. Some 80 percent of Indians have less than two dollars a day to live on, a third even less than one dollar. This is especially true for the almost 900 million Indians who live in rural areas.