A cleft lip and palate is more than just an aesthetic flaw: especially when the palate is affected, children have to struggle with many problems. They are teased and ostracized because of their appearance and their speech, which is often difficult to understand. Few manage to attend school successfully despite this. Fortunately, things can turn out very differently for these children. Read the story of Dua from Pakistan.
Dua is still a baby when her cleft lip and palate are closed. Thanks to the lip operation, no visible trace of her cleft remains. Her speech impediment is not too noticeable in the first years of her childhood, but this unfortunately changes when she starts school.
Suffering at school
Dua becomes painfully aware that she speaks differently than the other children do. Her classmates make fun of her for it. The teachers have difficulty understanding her. During the breaks, Dua stands alone in the schoolyard. Eventually, she can no longer bear it and doesn’t want to go to school anymore.
Fortunately, Dua’s parents learn about our new comprehensive cleft treatment center in Karachi. Here, we offer the children comprehensive care in which doctors and therapists from various disciplines work hand in hand to provide optimal cleft care.
When our psychologist meets Dua for the first time, she sees a sad, withdrawn little girl. But she quickly manages to gain Dua’s trust. Dua learns to believe in herself and her abilities. Thanks to speech therapy, which she also attends, she also makes rapid progress in speaking.
A child’s life takes a happy turn
Dua blossoms and becomes more self-confident from day to day. Suddenly Dua enjoys going to school and is enthusiastic about learning. This is quickly reflected in her grades! No one would have expected her to develop so quickly.
Without the supportive help of our therapists in Pakistan, Dua’s talents would have remained hidden. Children with a cleft lip and palate cannot help that they were born with this deformity. And a cleft or speech defect does not mean that the person affected is stupid or disabled.
With more than 1,000 cleft operations per year, Pakistan is one of our focus countries. The successful establishment of the interdisciplinary cleft lip and palate treatment center in the southern Pakistani metropolis of Karachi, where our project is based, is a great success. All medical specialties relevant to optimal cleft therapy are represented here under one roof: Pediatrics, psychology, speech therapy, ENT, dentistry and orthodontics. The beneficiaries are children like Dua.