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Cleft child Amina from India

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Amina lives with her family in a village in the middle of the Bengal Delta in the state of West Bengal. Her cleft affects her lip, jaw and palate. Amina is one year old when her parents learn of the offer of free surgery in our cleft center in Kolkata through a brochure. The trip to Kolkata is arduous and takes Amina and her parents two days by bus and train, a difficult journey with a toddler. But the joy that Amina can finally get help outweighs the troubles. Fatema, Amina’s mother, wants nothing more than that her daughter can grow up to be as healthy as her two older brothers.

Dr. Siddhartha, the senior surgeon at our Kolkata cleft center, first operates on Amina’s lip cleft. The little girl recovers quickly and can leave the hospital two days after the procedure. The monsoon has begun and the water level in the mangrove area that the family has to cross on foot on their way home has risen significantly. Back in the village, the joy is great. Fatema is particularly happy. She is hopeful and confident that her daughter will now be able to attend school once she is old enough. Fatema herself only has a primary school degree. She wants Amina to have it better than she did!

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Amina with her mother Fatema at home in her village.
The family lives in a small village in the simplest of circumstances.
Amina in her mother’s arms with one of her two brothers and her grandparents.
Fatema is happy to have a daughter after two boys.
Shortly before the operation: Fatema is hopeful.
Amina is in good hands with Dr. Siddhartha and his team.
The family’s home is located in a mangrove swamp and can only be reached on foot and by boat.
Back at home: Amina enjoys the attention.
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Six months later:

Dr. Siddhartha closes Amina’s cleft palate in a second operation. Our cleft center in Kolkata is one of the six of our Indian centers where we can offer the patients comprehensive treatment with all relevant medical disciplines. In addition to surgery, this includes speech therapy, orthodontics, dentistry, ENT and psychological care. Amina’s treatment will now continue with speech therapy. With that and with her family at her side, she has the best chance to live a completely normal life.

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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.