Lachen helfen e. V. is a charity with longstanding experience in war- and crisis-torn regions. They know: investments in education and medical care are the best ways to alleviate poverty and prevent fanaticism, terrorism and violence. Lachen helfen e. V. has thus decided to support our aid for cleft children in Afghanistan with a generous donation of 5,000 Euros for surgeries.
We rarely get good photos of the work done by our team in Afghanistan. For religious reasons and also out of fear of the Taliban, many people are reluctant to be photographed. This is especially true for Afghan women. Our doctors, too, prefer to act cautiously and avoid drawing too much attention to themselves.
This makes these impressive photographs of little Abdul and his family all the more fascinating. They represent a very rare glimpse into the life of one of our Afghan patients. Our patient, Abdul, lives in a small village near the border with Tajikistan, together with his parents and two siblings. Abdul’s father sells brushwood as fuel, as well as fish from the nearby river. The village was flooded several times by the river, and with every flood, Abdul’s family lost their home. A donkey is their only asset.
Abdul is the youngest of the three children. He was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. By chance, Abdul’s parents learned that we operate cleft children free of charge in Kunduz. Shortly before Abdul’s first birthday, the whole family set off for the city. The joy after Abdul’s operation is successful is huge. Abdul’s father overjoyed when he holds his son in his arms after the operation: Abdul’s cleft is closed, and soon even the scar will be barely visible anymore.
The healthcare situation in Afghanistan is precarious. Many hospitals were destroyed by the Taliban, and there are hardly any specialists. Our aid work in Afghanistan relies on three locations: Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Faizabad.
Almost 1,400 operations are the positive result. The average age of the cleft children operated by us in Afghanistan is higher than in other project countries. Most children have to wait many years for help.
Attacks are still part of everyday life in Afghanistan. Doctors sometimes risk their lives to help the children. With the withdrawal of western troops in 2021, the future of the country in the Hindu Kush is uncertain. We are grateful for every single child we can provide a surgery for in the face of these obstacles.