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A second chance for Lucas

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Lucas likes bus rides. Even though he has a long journey ahead of him this time: is setting out on a 500 km journey with his parents to get surgery for his cleft lip and palate from our partner organization Ayninakuna in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

“I was very, very sad and felt guilty when we found out at an ultrasound appointment in the fifth month of pregnancy that our child would be born with a cleft” Jonathan, Lucas’ father tells us.

Jonathan is still studying, and Lucas’ mother Yogerli takes care of the household. When the two learn about the free treatment option in Cochabamba, they are very relieved. Full of hope, they set off on the long journey. But a big disappointment awaits them: During the obligatory COVID-19 test before the surgery, Lucas tests positive and cannot be operated on. Yogerli can’t hold back the tears. Our surgeon, Dr. Eligio, assures the parents that their boy will have surgery as soon as possible, but first he needs to recover from his infection.

Once Lucas has recovered from his Covid infection, the family again embarks on the long journey to Cochabamba. This time, the pre-surgery corona test comes back negative and Lucas is able to have his surgery, which goes without any problems. For his parents, a dream comes true. Yogerli confesses: “To be honest, I cried a lot the first few months after Lucas was born. It hurt me a lot to see him like that. Now that his cleft lip surgery is done, I’m very happy because I see that there is a solution.”

By now, Dr. Eligio has also closed Lucas’ cleft palate. The little boy can now look forward to a hopeful future. A surgery costs only 300 euros. Help cleft children like Lucas now with your donation – every contribution counts!

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Lucas in the bus on his way to the clinic in Cochabamba.
Lucas is all set for his operation.
A few weeks after the operation: Lucas comes in for his routine checkup.
Lucas’ parents sent this picture to our partner organization when they first inquired about the possibility of getting treatment.
From our projects
The story of Maui, cleft child from Colombia
Our new project to help children with cleft lip and palate in Colombia begins with a very unusual case. Maui was born with a cleft lip and palate. His parents belong to an indigenous people and do not know how to get him the help he needs. By a happy coincidence, Julia, a Swiss woman living in Colombia, is a neighbor of the family and offers to help. In search of treatment options, she comes across Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe.
Video: Impressions from Bolivia
The parents of our cleft children are always full of gratitude. When their child is born with cleft, they often do not know what to make of the malformation, much less that it can be treated. And even if they do - most of our little patients come from the poorest of backgrounds. Their parents could never afford the operation. It is an unimaginable happiness for them to learn that their children can receive qualified treatment, and free of charge even. This wonderful, touching film from our Bolivian aid project captures these special moments of happiness.
Video: Impressions from Pakistan
This film, made for our Pakistani partner organization, the Al-Mustafa Welfare Societey, by the father of one of our patients, shows scenes from our work in Karachi. From here, our senior surgeon Prof. Ashraf Ganatra treats cleft children from poorest families. He operates the children from Karachi at the Al Mustafa Medical Center. In order to reach the many needy families living outside the city, he also regularly heads out to local provincial hospitals to treat cleft patients there.