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News from our work

Meeting our friends and partners at Cleft 2022

We are happy to have been able to meet so many of our friends and partners from our projects, as well as from other Circle of Cleft Professionals member organizations, at Cleft 2022 in Edinburgh this July 2022! Pictured above: Professor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ganatra, our Cleft Pakistan project leader (second from left), Dr. Ulrike Lamlé, volunteer cleft surgeon and project manager for DCKH (second from right), and Dr. Dushyant Prasad (project leader India, right).

6,863 cleft surgeries in 2021!

2021 was a very successful year for the Cleft Group partners. 6863 patients were able to receive their life-changing surgeries, a considerable increase over the number we were able to treat in 2020. Almost half of the surgeries, 3269, were performed in India, our biggest single project country. This great success would not have been possible if not for the efforts of our doctors and other medical professionals and of course of our donors. Thank you!

Changing the lives of cleft children around the world

The results of cleft surgery are best when the patient is treated very early in life. Our tiny patient pictured above will grow up with no memory of her cleft besides pictures. She was treated by our Cleft Pakistan team, led by our partner Prof. Ashraf Ganatra, during one of their regular missions, this one in September 2021 to Mirpurkhas Sindh. We of course treat patients of all ages, so that cleft patients who were not treated early in life can still live all their remaining lives free from cleft. On this mission alone, the team helped 13 cleft babies, 22 children, 12 teenagers and 6 adults. We thank our partners and of course our donors and other supporters for making this wonderful, life-changing work possible.

Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe: DZI seal renewed for 2021

Careful use of the donations entrusted to us is one of our core principles. We keep our overhead costs low to be able to help as many patients as possible. We are very happy to announce that these efforts have again been recognized: The German Central Institute for Social Issues (Deutsches Zentral Institut für soziale Fragen, DZI) renewed for another year its certification of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe, the initiator of The Cleft Group, as a charity conforming to the highest standards in the transparent, efficient and responsible use of donated funds. This marks the eighth year in a row we have been awarded the seal - a wonderful confirmation of our work.





15th anniversary of Cleft Peru Partner QORITO

On April 10, 2021, Cleft Peru partner organization QORITO celebrated its 15th anniversary. Watch their anniversary video with impressions from their work and the celebration on Facebook (in Spanish). The team of Cleft Peru cofounder Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. thanks the QORITO team for their amazing work and wishes QORITO all the best for the next 15 years, and hopefully many more, of cooperation for the cleft children of Peru!

How we make a difference: Toiong Marma's new start in life

Toiong Marma came to DCKH’s cleft center, LMRF Children Hospital Chittagong, in March 2019. She was born in Bandarban district with a cleft lip as well as palate, shocking her parents, Matui and Singnu Marma. No one in their family had this type of deformity before and this event distressed them. People around their area left oblique remarks to them and made them believe that Toiong got the cleft deformity because her mother Mrs. Matui did fish scaling during lunar eclipse while she was in her womb. Others believe in rebirth and believed that Toiong did some misdeed in her first birth and got the deformity as a punishment in her next birth.

They are from Marma tribe, one of the big ethnic groups in the country. Banderban Hill Track is around 60 kilometers away from Chittagong. In hill track areas the living standard is low. People have to live without electricity, the communication system is very rough, and people still lead a primitive life style. A few families can afford solar electricity. Most of the people from hill track areas do not have an idea about life outside the area. As Toiong‘s father said “I have never been in Chittagong city in my life before, I came here for my child’s treatment”.

Mr. Singnu and Mrs. Matui make their living through “Jhum” cultivation, growing crops in hill slopes, which yields very limited harvests. Selling Jhum crops, they earn 20-25 thousand taka (less than 300 US-Dollars) yearly. So they cannot afford cleft surgery for their child. “We wanted to have a correction of the deformity since her birth, but we could not afford the cost”, Mrs Matui Marma said.

An uncle who knew about free surgery and DCKH’s weekly camps at LMRF Children hospital gave them information about the center. At the first visit to the camp, Toiong got cleft lip surgery, and on 2nd July, 2019 she got her cleft palate surgery. Toiong's family are very happy with the correction and want to work as agents for changing lives of cleft children around their locality.

Toiong will come to the center for a follow up after three months. We hope all will be well with her and she will have a happy life.