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Project visit Sierra Leone

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Many people in Sierra Leone are affected by extreme poverty. The country is currently ranked 181 out of 195 in the Human Development Index. This means that life expectancy, average education time and gross domestic product are all below average. Not good conditions for those who give birth to a child with cleft here….

In late January, our long-time volunteer supporters and Africa project leaders, the highly qualified doctors Gunther Au-Balbach and Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume, visited the country to establish contacts for a new cleft project and to provide treatment to the first patients.

Many children with cleft lip and palate in Sierra Leone are still waiting to get the treatment they need.
Every cleft treatment we make possible takes a great burden from the shoulders of a child and their loved ones.
The local doctors are also enthusiastic to be able to help.
We hope to establish long-term contacts to build a permanent offer of help for cleft patients in Sierra Leone, as we aim to do at all our project locations.
The local officials were very welcoming and interested in the project.
Knowledge transfer is crucial: Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume (left) and Gunther Au-Balbach (right) in the lecture hall.
Oliver explains the timeline of cleft treatment.
The happy result: many tiny patients have received the treatment they needed.
With a treated cleft, the lives of the children and their families are a lot easier.
We hope to be able to help many more children like these in Sierra Leone in the future.
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Many children in Sierra Leone and around the world need help for their cleft lip and palate to live a normal life. Without treatment, they often cannot speak intelligibly, are ashamed of their appearance, and struggle with many health problems.

Thanks to our wonderful German volunteer doctors and project managers like Gunther Au-Balbach and Dr. Dr. Oliver Blume, our great local doctors in the project countries, and our many donors in Germany and all over the world, we are able to bring the needed medical help to thousands of them every year, finally enabling them to live a normal life. We would be happy to count you among our supporters!

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.