Join us on October 2 for Salsa for Smiles

September 1st, 2014 by

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Kick off the night with salsa lessons from Steps Dance Studio, then dance all night to live music from the Clave Kings & DJ Jimmy Suave

DATE: Thursday, October 2, 2014

6 pm: Doors Open
7 pm: Salsa Lessons
8 pm: Dancing

VENUE: Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON, M6J 1T9

Invite your family & friends - Buy 5 tickets & get 1 free or buy 12 tickets & get 3 free!

Step Up!

Tickets are $25 in advance by phone. Tickets will also be available at the door for $30. To guarantee seating, call Lula Lounge at 416-588-0307

100% of proceeds are directed to cleft care. Last year, our event raised $16,000 for our comprehensive cleft care projects. Check out last year’s photo album!

Can’t attend? Consider donating! 


All donations of $200 or more will be matched and 100% of donations go directly to our cleft care programs. Charitable receipts will be available for donations, however, no charitable receipts will be available for event tickets. 

Beyond the Initial Surgery: Meet Valentino, from Peru

August 29th, 2014 by

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Valentino is three years old. Born with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate, he was initially very shy and only spoke a few words when he was admitted to our partner project, KusiRostros, in 2012.

He attends speech therapy sessions every Tuesday at a Community Rehabilitation Centres (CRCs) in the district of San Martin de Porras. Housed in a clinic or health post, each CRC has a dentist, speech therapist and nurse co-ordinator. They offer families the medical, feeding and counselling support they need, close to home.

He has also attending orthodontic appointments. He now participates in the reading workshops with his mom and his aunt, likes to play with friends and is always smiling.



Beyond the initial surgery: Meet Josephine

August 28th, 2014 by

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Josephine Yayra Obidie was admitted to our partner project in Accra, Ghana when she was a week old. 

Both Mabel, Josephine’s mother, and her uncle were very surprised to see that the baby had a bilateral cleft lip and palate, a condition they didn’t know about. The maternal grandmother advised that the baby, who also had jaundice, be sent to the regional hospital. From there, she was referred to our partner hospital.

Her parents were counselled on appropriate feeding techniques and nutritional information. Josephine was also given immunizations. The team ensured that Josephine was appropriately nourished before her lip surgery. She is currently scheduled to undergo palate surgery in the near future.

Mabel had the full support of her family and did not face stigmatization. Josephine’s father is very fond of his daughter, whom he named Yayra which translates to Blessings. They look forward to her first day of school. 



Beyond a Single Surgery: Meet Kelvin

August 27th, 2014 by

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Portia Seyra Deynu, from Keta, Ghana, gave birth to Kelvin in April 2013 and the nurses and doctors took great care in explaining his cleft lip and palate to her. The nurses also gave her nutritional and feeding advice. 

Portia had seen a TV program about cleft and the doctor took the time to explain everything to her, so she did not experience the level of shock most mothers have when they are given the news. 

When Portia came back home, her paternal aunt, with whom she was staying, blamed the cleft lip and palate on Portia’s sins. Portia then moved in with her eldest sister in Accra to be closer to treatment at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, but her sister made similar comments.

A child is born with cleft lip and palate approximately every two and a half minutes somewhere in the world, according to the US Census Bureau. 

Despite extensive research about cleft lip and palate, its causes are still unknown.

Her doctor referred her to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, so that Kelvin could receive comprehensive care.  Portia and Kelvin were warmly received and they were registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme, a form of national health insurance established by the Government of Ghana

They now live in Madina, Accra, where Portia works as a nanny.  Kelvin is doing well and is accepted in the community.


Beyond the Initial Surgery: Meet Serkalem

August 26th, 2014 by

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Serkale with her son

Serkalem pictured with her son, Barnabas

Serkalem is a 27 year old patient who was born with a cleft lip. She lives with family and her two sons in the eastern Oromia region, a 750 km trip from our partner hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She was raised by her mother, so treatment was delayed due to economic reasons. While at school with an unrepaired cleft lip, she faced bullying, rejection and isolation. One day, she heard about available treatment on the radio. Serkalem underwent surgery at a nearby hospital when she was 17 years old and underwent further nasal surgery recently. 

There is a previous history of cleft in her family and her son, Barnabas,  was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. Serkalem was initially shocked when she saw her child and hid him inside the house for six months, for fear of being blamed for passing on his condition. He has since received surgery. 

He is now two years old and was referred to Yekatit 12 Hospital from the Harar region for a palate correction. He also attends speech therapy sessions at Yekatit 12.

She attended a parent support group at Yekatit and feels very strongly that fathers should be more involved in these discussions so that they can better provide support. 

The family will continue to receive follow up care in Addis Ababa as needed. 

Serkalem with parent support groups

Pictured: A Parent Group Discussion