Cleft > How we help 

Lucky Sheyla

Sheyla was born on August 11, 2017 in Mojinete, a little village of 500 people high up in the Bolivian Andes. Her mother Jhesica was only sixteen at the time. She had to leave school a year before graduating because of her pregnancy. The child's father deserted her even before she gave birth. It's only after taking Sheyla into her arms for the first time that she realises something might not be quite right. A big cleft fissure reaching all the way from the left side of the upper lip to the child's nose could be seen. A short time later the doctors tell her that Sheyla also has a cleft palate.

Fortunately for Jhesica, her family remains steadfast by her side throughout these trying times. Her mother tells her that on her father's side of the family there had already been cases of clefts in the past. Jhesica's grandmother had twin brothers and her aunt had two sons with cleft lip and palates. All four children died soon after birth. Jhesica is shocked and afraid that her little daughter might suffer the same fate. The doctors had told her that the condition could be treated through surgery, but not in Mojinete, where the family lives. There, all they have is only a small polyclinic without surgeons who are trained in the procedure. And the family would never be able to afford the operation anyway.

Jhesica found out about the help that we provide just as Sheyla was seven months old. A stroke of luck which turned the little girl's fate for the better.

Now, two years later, Sheyla is a happy, self-confident girl - the family's little darling. Three times Dr Mamani, the manager of both of our Bolivian projects, had to operate on her. The first procedure (on the lip and nose) was performed when Sheyla was only nine months old. She then underwent surgery on her palate in October of the same year. In May of this year Dr Mamani finally completed the surgical treatment with some necessary rhinoplasty. A proud and joyful Jhesica tells us that Sheyla is developing magnificently. She is a cheerful little girl - and very clever. The best conditions for a bright future.

It's often sad stories and tragic fates that we have to report about. We are therefore all the more pleased that Sheyla's story has a happy end. During the treatment Sheyla's mother met David, our psychologist - and they fell in love! They are a now a couple and soon they will be a proper family. David wants to adopt Sheyla and Jhesica had her second child on September 10, a healthy little daughter. Positive and strong-minded, Jhesica faced all challenges as a single parent. She cared lovingly for her daughter, who needed an extra amount of attention on account of her cleft lip and palate. She is eternally grateful to Dr Mamani for his treatment of Sheyla and that his team has given her so much support.


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