Giving Tuesday

November 28th, 2014 by

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For many shoppers, the holiday season is kicked off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  But now, Canadians also have a day dedicated entirely to giving back. Giving Tuesday is a new Canadian movement focused on making a difference in  your community by giving or volunteering on December 2, 2014. 

Transforming Faces would be honoured to have your support this Giving Tuesday. Below you will find a list of ways you can get involved and help transform the lives of children born with cleft lip and palate:


valentino7Transforming Faces is a Canadian charity dedicated to providing multidisciplinary cleft care for people born with cleft lip and palate. While surgery is important, TF recognizes that it’s just the beginning of the journey. In reality, cleft patients require years of other treatments, from speech therapy to orthodontic work, which are rarely accessible or affordable. TF seeks to change that. 

Our multi-disciplinary approach to cleft care not only physically transforms faces, but also radically changes the trajectory of a child’s life by allowing them to finish school, start families, and participate in society without fear of discrimination (see Lives Transformed)

100per cent

Note that 100% of all donations go directly to our international programs thanks to a private foundation that 
covers our overhead expenses. All donations over $200 will also be matched so your impact will be doubled! 


We hope you’ll join Canadians in celebrating Giving Tuesday and help us close the gap in cleft care! If we can provide any support, please get in touch at 416-222-6581 or by email

Transform the Holidays

November 27th, 2014 by

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Transform the Holidays

This holiday season, Transforming Faces invites our amazing supporters to help us transform the lives of children with cleft lip and palate. Roughly one in 700 babies are born with cleft lip and palate, and, while it is treatable with surgery and rehabilitation, comprehensive cleft care information and services are inaccessible or altogether unavailable in most parts of the world.

There are countless ways you can revamp your usual holiday traditions into an opportunity to raise awareness about comprehensive cleft care and change a child’s life forever!  Here are some ideas:

Host an event

  • Festive potluck dinner
  • Holiday movie marathon
  • Gift wrapping party
  • Holiday bake sale
  • Ugly Christmas sweater party

Get crafty for a cause

  • Sell handmade ornaments and holiday decorations
  • Knit and sell cozy winter accessories

Request donations in lieu of gifts

  • Not sure what to ask for? Helping put a smile on a child’s face would make a pretty amazing and meaningful gift!

Make a New Year’s resolution that counts

  • Set a goal and collect pledges to help you achieve it. 

Download our Transform the Holidays Kit for ideas and information to get you started. 

For questions or assistance, please contact Courtney at 416-222-6581 or by email

Yeabsra Celebrates her 10th Birthday!

November 24th, 2014 by

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Yeabsra Gebeyhu Hailmarim, a patient at Yekatit 12 (our Ethiopia partner hospital) celebrates her 10th birthday with a big party in Addis Ababa.

Yeabsras 10th birthday

Yeabsra (centre) travelled to Canada with her mother Aynalem in 2011 and 2012 to receive treatment for her complex craniofacial cleft. Here, she made a lasting impression on TF staff and supporters and has become a wonderful part of the Transforming Faces family. She continues to receive follow up treatment at Yekatit and is thriving in school.

Happy birthday Yeabsra! 

Thoughts from Peru: Dr. Sandra Fastlicht

November 21st, 2014 by

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Sandra first got involved with Transforming Faces while doing an Orthodontic Fellowship in Cleft Lip and Palate at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She has since become an integral member of the TF family and had the opportunity to visit our Peru project on two occasions. Next month, Sandra will return to South America as a TF Consultant to begin an innovative orthodontics training program for our partners in Peru, Argentina and Chile. Read her thoughts from the field below:

“In November 2012, I was fortunate to travel with TF to Peru as a member of the Cleft Lip and Palate Team from SickKids.  We had the opportunity to participate in the country’s first Cleft Lip and Palate Congress.  Each team member spoke of their role in the Cleft Lip and Palate Team and presented our interdisciplinary team approach to comprehensive cleft care.

Cleft Congress

We were also there for the establishment of the “Peruvian Cleft Lip and Palate Association” which marked a huge step towards having professionals of different specialities come together to talk about interdisciplinary care in cleft lip and palate patients. It created awareness on best practices and approaches to comprehensive treatment.

This first field visit also marked the start of TF’s partnership with a local organization (kusiRostros) to implement four Community Rehabilitation Centres (CRCs) in poor, peripheral areas of Lima, Peru. The centres were designed to decentralize access to cleft care by bringing interdisciplinary cleft services closer to patients’ homes.

Prior to the creation of these centres, many families would have to travel up to two-and-a-half hours each way to access cleft care. As a result, many families would have to abandon ongoing treatments after surgery because of the distance and income lost to travel time. It was very clear to us, having experienced the traffic and distances ourselves, that TF had done a lot of ground work in order to start the CRCs and provide free interdisciplinary care closer to those who would otherwise not get access to treatment.

As a product of this trip I was inspired by the SickKids Team, by TF’s mission and by the hard working partners in Peru, but mostly by all those beautiful children born with cleft lip and palate that deserve the best care possible.

parent education

In September 2014, almost two years later, I returned to Lima. I was very happy to see that the implementation of the CRCs had been a huge success. They are providing a range of services including preventive dentistry, speech therapy and counselling. They have a nurse coordinator and they have done a wonderful job of educating and creating a support system for parents. The first time we were there, parents kept asking if their child would be okay and if it was their fault their baby had a cleft. This visit, parents had all the information they needed, and were completely on board with their child’s treatment. In fact, parents are encouraged to counsel newer parents. 

On Saturdays, kusiRostros provides arts classes for parents. This has allowed them to communicate with other parents in a similar situation, and to be in a stress-free environment that promotes support for their families. They all seemed to have a very special sense of belonging and felt part of a community. KusiRostros’ staff are very dedicated and caring individuals who have done a fantastic job of working as a team and setting an example.

Sandra at CRCI was very impressed with the organization they had. All patients had scheduled appointments and would rotate through different specialists. This was a huge contrast with some of the public hospitals where patients had to line up outside the hospital at 4am to ensure they would be one of 60 patients seen, and would only get to see one specialist per visit, if any.

The implementation of the CRCs was so successful that a fifth one had to be opened to meet the high demand. At this point in time there is tremendous potential to influence Peru’s approach to cleft care on a national scale. TF and its partners are working hard to reach this goal.

I feel very fortunate and grateful to be part of TF, and look forward to continuing working towards the growth and development of a more comprehensive approach to cleft care.”

- Dr. Sandra Fastlicht 

E-MPOWER Project Wins Award

November 13th, 2014 by

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Our partners at Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) in India won a recent award for their E-MPOWER mobile application. This E Technology project enables people with cleft lip and palate to access speech therapy in rural communities through a mobile app that stores and tracks patient progress.

SRU presented a paper on the implementation of the E-MPOWER project for persons with communications disorders in rural areas at the Telemedicon 2014 conference in Bhopal, India last week. They were awarded best paper in the ‘New Initiatives in Telemedicine’ category.

India - EMPOWER Award

In India, poor transportation infrastructure and long travel distances prevent many rural families from accessing comprehensive cleft care. SRU’s mobile application is helping bridge this gap by providing cleft care support closer to patients’ homes.

Learn more about our work in India.