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Chi from Vietnam: abandoned by her mother

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Imagine the desperation that drives a mother to abandon her baby. Little Chi’s mother didn’t know what else to do. On April 25, 2019, she gave birth to her daughter. With the girl’s father not at her side, she was already under pressure from her own family. There was no support to be expected. And certainly not for a child who looked like Chi, disfigured by a large double-sided lip cleft. The additional cleft palate meant that she could not even breastfeed her daughter.

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Chi on Dr. Ai’s arm with one of the monks.
The buddhist monastery.
Chi before the surgery with a project worker.
Dr. Ai examines little Chi.
A last photograph before the surgery.
Dr. Ai during Chi’s surgery.
Happy End: after the successful operation.
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Last hope: Buddhist monks

In her desperation, the young mother saw no other way but to give her baby into the care of Buddhist monks. It was also the monks who gave her her name and campaigned for the girl to receive treatment. The first operation took place on December 5, 2019: Our longstanding Vietnamese partner, the experienced surgeon Dr. Ai, closed Chi’s cleft lip. The palate surgery is planned for this year. And maybe Chi’s mother will return sometime to take in her daughter.

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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.