Happy little Sheyla from Bolivia

On August 11, 2017, Sheyla is born in Mojinte, a village of almost 500 people in the highlands of the Bolivian Andes. Her mother Jhesica was only 16 years old at the time. Jhesica only realized that something was wrong with Sheyla when she held her daughter in her arms for the first time: A large cleft extended from the left upper lip to the nose. The young mother then learns from the doctors that Sheyla also has a cleft palate. Sheyla has received three surgeries since then. At the time of the first operation (for the lip and nose), Sheyla was nine months old, and the palate surgery was performed in October 2018. The last operation, to correct the nose, was carried out in May 2019.


A good life for Sheyla

When Jhesica recounts her story, it is hard to believe that she is only 18 years old. The young woman has been through a lot. Because of her pregnancy, the then 16-year-old had to drop out of school one year before graduation. The child’s father deserts her before the birth. Fortunately, her family stands with her during this difficult time. From her mother, she learns that there is a history of clefts in the family on the paternal side. Jhesica’s grandmother had twins, her aunt two sons with cleft lip and palate. All four died shortly after birth. Jhesica is shocked, and scared that her little daughter will suffer the same fate. She knows from the doctors that the malformation can be treated by surgery. But not in Mojinte, the family’s home village. There is only a small health center there, without cleft surgeons. Besides that, the family could never afford the treatment.

It was a happy coincidence that Jhesica became aware of our offer of free cleft treatment, which turned the fate of her little girl for the better. Today Sheyla is a happy, confident girl – the sunshine of the whole family.

And Sheyla’s story has another happy ending: During Sheyla’s treatments, Sheyla’s mother and our psychologist David got to know each other – and fell in love! Today they are a couple and Sheyla now has a little sister.


Sheyla in her patient intake picture before her first surgery…
… and afterwards
Sheyla is a cheerful girl.
Happy little Sheyla after the surgery.
Sheyla and her mother sharing a moment of joy during Sheyla’s second hospital stay.
After three successful surgeries: Sheyla with her mother.
Happy ending: Sheyla with David and her mom.
Five good reasons to donate
We are dedicated to one single cause: the treatment of children with cleft lip and palate. In our project countries, we provide direct medical aid to families in need. With success measurable by the number of operations.
As far as the structures in our project countries allow, we also finance necessary follow-up treatments beyond the surgeries, such as speech therapy or orthodontic measures.
Every treatment is documented in our patient database by the doctors on site and verified and checked for quality by us. This way we can be sure that the donations entrusted to us are used properly.
Our goal always is to establish independently functioning medical structures in our project countries. We therefore support our projects over the long term and continuously stay in contact with our local partners.
The German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) has been certifying our responsible and proper handling of our donation income with its DZI donation seal since 2012.