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Julio – a child with cleft lip and palate from Peru

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Julio was already three years old when he was introduced to us. The boy lives with his parents and brother in Iquitos, in the Amazon rainforest region. Iquitos is the largest city on the Peruvian Amazon and cannot be reached by land, only by ship across the Amazon, or by plane.

We learn about Julio’s need for help through a Swiss aid organization (Lacitos de Luz) that works to advance the rights and welfare of children in the region. Julio was born with a very wide bilateral cleft lip and palate. Simone, the founder of Lacitos de Luz, who had taken Julio to her heart, did everything she could to find help for him. In Julio’s home region, the health care is very poor, there is no possibility to operate on his cleft lip and palate.


Working to help children with cleft lip and palate in Peru for over 30 years: Dr. Alberto Bardales, DCKH project partner and lead surgeon in Peru.

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Simone found our association on the Internet and contacted us immediately. Together, we were able to arrange Julio’s first operation in Lima. There, his cleft lip was operated in November last year by our Peruvian surgeon Dr. Alberto Bardales.

In the meantime, there is hardly anything left to see of Julio’s cleft lip. And last Friday, Dr. Bardales was also able to close his palate: Not an easy operation, because the cleft in Julio’s palate was particularly severe. But our experienced surgeon Dr. Bardales succeeded in closing the palate.

We wish Julio and his family all the best for the future! We will of course keep in touch and report to you on how Julio is doing.

From our projects
Visit to our cleft treatment project in Pakistan
Helping the children with cleft malformation treated in our cleft treatment project in Karachi live their best lives is the overarching goal of our three-year BMZ funding project. To evaluate the project, a team from Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe traveled to Pakistan in early 2023. An exciting trip with intense, touching impressions of the successful work done by our Pakistani partners.
Project visit Sierra Leone
Many people in Sierra Leone are affected by extreme poverty. This also means very poor conditions and little hope for treatment for those who give birth to a child with cleft lip here. Now our long-time volunteer supporters and Africa project leaders, the highly qualified surgeons Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach, visited the country to establish contacts for a new cleft project and to provide care to the first patients.
December 2022: Project visit in Vietnam
Our help for children with cleft lip and palate would be impossible without our network of helpers. In addition to many local surgeons and other medical professionals in the partner countries, this network also includes volunteers who support our local teams with passion and skill. An intercultural exchange that is enriching for both sides. The work in our project country Vietnam has been accompanied since 2016 by the Munich doctors Dr. Denys J Loeffelbein and Dr. Daniel Lonic. In December 2022, the two visited their colleagues and friends in Vietnam again for the first time since the pandemic.
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.