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Cleft child Matias from Bolivia: Cleft surgery in times of Corona

Matias is born on August 4, 2019 in the province of Ingavi, near lake Titicaca. He receives his first surgery, for his cleft lip, in February 2020 from our surgeon Dr. Mamani. Dr. Mamani is based in La Paz, where he heads one of our three projects in Bolivia. Just before the global Coronavirus lockdown puts a stop to all our surgeries the experienced pediatric surgeon closes Matias’ cleft lip.

Then life in Bolivia comes to a standstill for three months. In a country where almost half of the population lives in poverty, this has dramatic consequences for many. Matia’s father works as a day laborer on construction sites. Suddenly he can no longer earn money, can no longer feed his family. In addition, there is also the fear for his youngest son: Matias’ still needs his palate surgery. Dr. Mamani and his team had explained to the parents after the lip surgery how important it is that the palate is also closed in a second operation. But because of the pandemic, they at first have no idea when the surgery can be done. An untreated cleft palate causes many health problems, especially in small children. The children cannot breathe and swallow properly, so it is difficult for them to eat.

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During this difficult time Nora, the psychologist of our Bolivian team, looks after the families. She is in regular contact with Matias parents by phone. In early June, she finally brings the long-awaited good news: Matias can have his surgery! The operation takes place under strict protective measures. Working under these conditions is hard work for the team: The new hygiene regulations are complex and take a lot of time. Still, everyone is happy that they can finally help the children again!

Matias’ second operation goes as well as the first. When he comes to aftercare a week later, Dr. Mamani is very satisfied. While still in his first year of life, Matias has both important surgical interventions behind him. He has recently also received speech therapy. This is very important for an optimal treatment result in children with cleft palate. Dr. Mamani follows this interdisciplinary approach with great conviction and persistence. We are happy for Matias and the many other cleft children in Bolivia we can give access to comprehensive therapy – for a good start into a new life.

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Five good reasons to donate for cleft children
We dedicate ourselves to a single cause: Treating children with cleft lip and palate. In our project countries, we offer direct medical help for the needy patients and their families. Measurable in the number of surgeries offered.
Whereever the situation in our project countries allows, we fund additional necessary followup therapies beyond the surgeries, such as speech therapy or orthodontics.
Every treatment is documented by our doctors in the project countries in our patient database and verified by us. This way we know that the donations entrusted to us are used properly.
Our goal always is to build sustainable, independently functioning structures in our project countries. To achieve this, we build up long-term partnerships and keep in close touch with our local partners.
The German Central Institute for Social Matters (DZI) certifies that we use the donations entrusted to us responsibly and properly manner. We have held this certificate continuously since 2012.
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24 Gute Taten Advent calendar – featuring Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe!
For many, the pre-Christmas season would not be complete without an Advent calendar. Small treats or loving gifts sweeten every December day. But another thing can also be hidden behind the doors: good deeds! The 24 Gute Taten ("24 Good Deeds") charity Advent calendar makes sure of that: every day, a charitable project from the fields of health, environment, education and many more is presented and supported with the proceeds from the sale of the calendars. This year, one of the projects presented once again is one by Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe!
DCKH e.V.: DZI donation seal of approval renewed
Trust is the indispensable basis of our work. Without the trust of our donors, not only would our work be impossible, we simply could not exist as an association. We are always aware of this, and this awareness guides us in our daily work. We are therefore proud to announce that Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. has just passed its annual audit and is entitled to carry the DZI Donation Seal 2022/23 for another year.
October 1 is Foundations Day
This Saturday, October 1, is "Foundations Day". This day was created by the Association of German Foundations to raise awareness of the important charitable work of foundations in Germany and Europe. We, too, are pleased to be able to count many foundations among the supporters of our work, in addition to numerous companies and many, many private donors.
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.
Video: The story of Dat from Vietnam
As a baby, Dat fell victim to an unqualified surgery. Probably inexperienced doctors severed important arteries during his palate surgery in Vietnam. The result: a large hole in the palate that massively affects the boy's life. We brought him to Germany to get reconstructive surgery. An individual case that due to the financial and human cost must remain an exception. In this video, we want to draw attention to the risks of "safari surgery" as opposed to sustainable development aid.