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Two lives: Lishitha and Lithika

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Do you remember Lishitha and Lithika, the twin girls from India?

At the end of 2018, donors had spontaneously decided to help our two Indian twin girls Lishita and Lithika. Thank you again for your generosity! In the meantime, the tiny premature babies have grown into two lively little girls, who celebrated their first birthday on September 28, 2019. Unfortunately, both were diagnosed with a heart defect. Before the cleft surgery can be performed, the girls must therefore undergo heart surgery.

A brief flashback: The twin girls were born on September 28, 2018 in Hyderabad. Both girls had a pronounced double-sided cleft lip and a cleft palate. Since the birth of their daughters, the new parents were desperate and very concerned: The two girls were very small and underweight. They couldn’t nurse  and drink properly. The young mother was afraid that she could not take care of the babies sufficiently. In addition to the worry about her children she had to endure attacks. The malformation of her daughters was blamed on Jyothi as their mother – without scientific basis. Her neighbors mocked and ostracized her and her husband.

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The Indian twins
Fitting of the NAM plate.
NAM training
Feeding with a bottle
Lishitha und Lithika at a year old
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The parents find new hope

But Jyothi and Srinivas refuse to be discouraged. They want their children to live – and they find help. They present the two girls to Dr. Kumar of our Hyderabad cleft center. “This is really a rare case,” says the experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who has been treating cleft patients for more than 10 years.

Dr. Kumar explains to the concerned parents that he will immediately commence treatment of their daughters. First, the twins receive a palate plate and special food. At the end of February 2019, the girls have turned five months old. Dr. Kumar, who looks after the children in our cleft center in Hyderabad, is very satisfied: the girls are happy and slowly gaining weight. At 4 kilos, Lishita is a bit bigger than her sister. Lithika weighs only 3.5 kilos, she was smaller from the start and accordingly needs more attention and care from her mother. How fortunate that the family receives so much support from the clinic team!

We were happy to hear that something had changed in the family’s social environment as well. Instead of rejection, the parents suddenly experience understanding and even support from their family and from neighbors. This also is a great success for Dr. Kumar and his team.

We thank all donors who have taken the fate of the two girls into their hands. We are in regular contact with Dr. Kumar regarding the girls’ condition.

The parents of the twins are very grateful their daughters will receive comprehensive care from our Indian doctors and that the heart surgery will also be free of charge for the family. We will continue to support the twins’ treatment.

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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.