Meet Daungkaew from Myanmar

March 26th, 2015 by

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Meet Daungkaew from Myanmar


Daungkaew with her grandparents at admission in 2012.

Daungkaew Namwong was the only child born to her parents, Lan and Ee in Myanmar. After separating in 2012, Daungkaew’s parents left her in the care of her grandparents in Mae Sai, northern Thailand. Here, Daungkaew is enrolled in pre-kindergarten at a local school and receives cleft care at our partner institution, the Northern Women’s Development Foundation.

Daungkaew was admitted to our project in January 2012, had her cleft palate repaired and ENT assessments one year later. She attends regular assessments to monitor her development and overall, is progressing well. Now a shy but happy 3-year old, Daungkaew continues to receive care through NWDF’s mobile speech therapy and oral hygiene camps. Her grandparents, who earn roughly $1,150 per year, are thankful that community-level services are available since travelling to the hospital in Chiang Rai is costly and difficult given their migrant status. 




Daungkaew attending NWDF’s mobile speech and dental camps in 2013 and 2014. 


Meet Annamalai

March 12th, 2015 by

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           Annamalai at age 5

When Kasiammal Aiyappan’s second child, Annamalai, was born with a complete unilateral cleft lip and palate in the Thiruvarangam Valavetti village in India, she was lost and confused:

“I did not know where to go… and whom to approach. Then I came to know about a government hospital at Pondicherry, where I took him for his lip and palate repair. Though he had his surgeries, his speech was very different. My relatives use to mock him but then I heard about the comprehensive care at Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) through a TF project through one of my friends who was working there.”

Kasiammal Aiyappan explains her relief that SRU covered food and travel expenses for every visit so that Annamalai could regularly attend SRU facilities in Chennai and speech camps without missing any appointments. As a single mother, she would not have been able to afford these services otherwise.

Today, Annamalai is 15 years old, has lots of friends and is doing well in school. He regularly attends SRU’s speech camps which are only 10km away from this home. Soon, Annamalai will also begin receiving orthodontic treatments in his community through SRU’s mobile dental vans.

According to his mother, “after treatment my child is able to speak better. I am happy to hear this from the same relatives who used to mock him before”.

One day, Annamalai hopes to become a police officer. 

Annamalai with his mother, grandmother and two sisters



NAM Training a Huge Success!

February 24th, 2015 by

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On Monday February 16, six orthodontists from TF partner organizations in Peru, Argentina and Chile arrived in snowy Toronto to take part in our first ever collaborative training program with the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry.NAM Training 2

The three-day program provided in-depth training on Nasoalveolar Moulding (NAM), an important method used by orthodontists to reshape the nose, gums and lips of an infant with cleft lip and palate prior to surgery.  The six participants and TF’s Peru Project Director, Maria Teresa Torres, took part in lectures, demonstrations and a full-day laboratory workshop led by TF Consultant (Orthodontics) Sandra Fastlicht, and some of Canada’s top orthodontics and cleft care professionals.

Infants born with CLP often require multiple surgeries spanning over many years, and can experience significant facial scarring. With the help of a NAM device, trained orthodontists can help limit the number and complexity of surgeries a patient needs and, as a result, can dramatically improve the appearance and overall health of the child post-surgery.


Our training participants had the opportunity to not only develop a vital new skill that will help improve the lives of their patients, but also to see multidisciplinary cleft care in action by hearing from and shadowing each of the specialists from Sick Kids’ world-renowned cleft care team. These invaluable learnings will improve the quality of the care the participants provide and give them the knowledge they need to train peers in their respective communities.

Thankfully, this program was much more than a one-way knowledge exchange. The participants from Peru, Argentina and Chile took advantage of this opportunity to learn from one another, share best practices and collaboratively find innovative solutions that work in their local cultural contexts.  As an organization that strives to improve the capacity of our international partners and facilitate South-South knowledge exchanges, TF was thrilled to see cleft care professionals from four countries come together so seamlessly, absorb so much in a short period of time and demonstrate a commitment to sharing these new skills with their peers back home.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this training course possible including Sandra Fastlicht, Dr. Bryan Thompson and the amazing team at Sick Kids, the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and Dr. Bruno Vendittelli from Forest Hill Orthodontics. 

The next phase of this project will involve follow up evaluations at each of the participants’ health institutions to ensure the course materials have been implemented effectively. Stay tuned for updates! 

Training participants with Dr. Bryan Thompson (third from left) and TF Consultant Sandra Fastlicht (centre)

NAM training participants celebrating their achievement with Dr. Bryan Thompson (third from left) and TF Consultant Sandra Fastlicht (centre). 


Beautiful Before & After 2015

February 9th, 2015 by

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Save the Date - BB&A 2015

Our 2015 Beautiful Before & After event will take place on May 21, 2015 at BMO Conference & Event Centre, First Canadian Place in Toronto. Don’t miss out on this evening of exquisite food and drink, heartfelt celebration and an enticing silent auction. 

There will be amazing auction prizes up for grabs, including a seven-night all-inclusive stay at the incredible Paradisus Princesa del Mar resort in Varadero, Cuba! Stay tuned for prize updates over the next few months. 

Tickets are now available online! Don’t miss your chance to attend this year’s event. 

Princesa del Mar Resort





International Development Week 2015

January 30th, 2015 by

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February 1-7, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of International Development Week, a time dedicated to learning about and actively engaging in international development issues. Don’t miss your chance to get involved! 

Attend an event 

International Development Week (IDW) celebrations will happening all around Canada. Check out this DFATD listing or visit your regional council for international cooperation website for details on public engagement activities happening throughout the week.

Transformations 2015This year, Transforming Faces is excited to be part of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)’s Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in Peru, a collaborative photojournalism project intended to increase dialogue and further understanding of international partnerships that address complex global challenges.

OCIC will be presenting a week-long virtual and physical photo exhibit highlighting stories and photos from Transforming Faces and Save the Children’s projects in Peru. This will be a unique opportunity to learn more about our work and the patients we support!

The physical exhibition will be kicked off with a free Peruvian-themed launch party event on Tuesday February 3rd at Metro Hall in Toronto. To register for the launch party event, click here

The free week-long public exhibit will be held from February 2-6 in the Metro Hall Rotundra at 2o0 Wellington St. W in Toronto.

Micro-exhibits will also be held at select locations throughout the city including: 

  • CBC Atrium – 205 Wellington St. W
  • Centre for Social Innovation (Spadina) – 215 Spadina Ave., 4th Floor
  • Centre for Social Innovation (Regent Park) – 585 Dundas St. E, 3rd Floor
  • Various Toronto Public Library locations – click here for more details. 

Learn more about cleft lip & palate

IDW is an opportunity to take the time to inform yourself about key development issues. Over the course of the week, we’ll be posting information about cleft lip and palate on Twitter using the hashtag #CleftFacts. Please follow along and join the conversation! 

You can also check out the following resources to learn more about this important cause: