Rishav from Bihar, India

Rishav’s family lives in a medium-sized town in the Indian state of Bihar. The state is densely populated: 100 million people live in an area less than one-third the size of Germany. Unfortunately, it is also one of the less economically developed Indian states. Many people still live in poverty. Rishav’s family makes their living as laborers. When their son is born with a serious cleft lip and palate, his parents’ despair is great. What should they do now? Can Rishav drink at all? And what will their family and acquaintances say?

And indeed, when the family and neighbors see Rishav’s face, they recoil. Ignorance and misconceptions about cleft lip and palate are still widespread. The resulting negative and hostile reactions of their environment are an additional stress factor for the affected families in an already highly difficult and worrying situation. But this does not diminish Rishav’s parents’ love for their baby.

Hope for Rishav

One evening, Rishav’s dad comes home with hopeful news. A colleague at work tells him that Rishav’s cleft can be treated. That an operation would help Rishav and that it would even be free. An unexpected glimmer of hope for Rishav’s parents.

Rishav’s family embarks on the journey to our cleft center in Patna, one of some two dozen centers where we offer help to cleft families in need – thanks to our donors! The head surgeon, Dr. Uma Shankar, takes the parents’ worries seriously. Reassuringly and competently, he explains the surgery to them and quickly manages to gain their trust.

The operation is successful. The parents are overjoyed when they can embrace Rishav after the operation. For Dr. Shankar, it is these very special moments that motivate him. He knows that children like Rishav would hardly have a chance in life without his help. As a farewell, there is another heartfelt hug. What a joyous outcome!

Cleft surgery achieves the best results when it is performed at a young age. Rishav is not even one year old when he receives his first operation, in which his cleft lip is closed. In a second operation, his cleft palate has to be closed to properly separate his mouth and nose, which will allow him to eat and speak better. Thanks to our donors, he will be able to receive this operation as well, despite the difficult economic situation of his family. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters from the bottom of our hearts.

We are overjoyed for Rishav and his parents and wish Rishav all the best for his future!