Thank You, TF Champions

December 5th, 2016 by

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Today is International Volunteer Day and we are so excited to recognize all the amazing volunteers who help make our work possible! As a small organization, we rely heavily on the time, dedication and passion of volunteers for our international programs, events, office work and much more.



Here in Canada, we are so fortunate to have many supporters who help make sure our events run smoothly from start to finish, help with our annual mailings, provide assistance in the office and go above and beyond to support cleft care. A special thank you to our Fundraising Committee and friends from U of T’s SLP program who made our two events possible this year.


We are also lucky to have a wonderful Medical Advisory Committee who use their time and expertise to make sure our international programs are medically sound, safe and effective. Thank you, MAC and medical volunteers!

We also want to extend a huge thank you to our many volunteers around the world. Each of our partner programs have teams of dedicated supporters who work tirelessly to ensure children born with cleft lip and palate have access to affordable care. They contribute so much to our programs – from donating free spaces to hold our programs, to assisting with translation, to helping with patient follow-up in remote communities. Thank you, international volunteers!


We are so grateful to all of our TF Champions for your passion, energy, commitment and time. Thank you for helping transform lives! 


Join the Global Giving Movement

November 28th, 2016 by

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GivingTuesday Countdown

November 29, 2016 marks GivingTuesday, a global celebration of philanthropy and an opportunity to give back to the causes you care about.

This GivingTuesday, you can help provide life-changing care for a child born with cleft lip and palate. That means not just supporting a cleft repair surgery but long-term care that helps patients through every step of their journey from speech therapy to dental care to nutrition counseling and much more.


The cost of one treatment, such as a speech therapy session or hearing assessment typically costs between $20-50 and for approximately $20/month for one year, you can support the cost of surgery and long-term care for one child.

This GivingTuesday, consider giving the best possible gift to a child born with a cleft – the chance to enjoy their childhood and grow into healthy, happy, confident adults. 

Yes, I want to help! 


Meet Po Laung from Myanmar

November 3rd, 2016 by

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Po Laung is an only child who lives with his mother and grandparents in the Doi Taw Kham village in Myanmar. His family works in agriculture, mainly growing rice and corn.

Po Laung and his mother

When Po Laung was born with a cleft lip and palate in 2014, his father believed the cleft was a curse that would bring bad luck to the community so the child must be killed. Po Laung’s mother, Bu Yar, was adamantly against this. She split from her husband and returned to live with her parents in another village to save her son’s life.


Thankfully, a local foundation met with the family and informed them to contact our partner project based in Chiang Rai, Thailand, 160 kilometres from their home. Po Laung was admitted to the project at nearly two years old. In November 2015, we received a health assessment at a border hospital between Thailand and Myanmar. Here, Po Laung was found to have a severe rash that required medication and home care. Once, Po Laung’s health was restored, he had his cleft lip and palate surgeries scheduled for February 2016.


Po Laung’s mother and grandparents were so happy to see his brand new smile. His grandmother says, “I would like to say thank you to the project for giving a good chance to my [grandson]. I am very happy for getting all the best [care] and seeing my grandson have a new life.”


Salsa for Smiles One Week Away!

September 22nd, 2016 by

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Our 7th Annual Salsa for Smiles event is only ONE WEEK AWAY!

Join us on Thursday September 29th for an evening of salsa dancing, live music and smiles in support of cleft care. Here a few of the exciting things in store for you at this year’s event:

Salsa Lessons


As always, Salsa for Smiles will include introductory salsa dance lessons taught from professionals from Toronto’s Steps Dance Studio. Afterwards, there will be live salsa music so you can practice your new moves all night long.

The Spice Bucket Challenge

Salsa for Smiles Spice Bucket Challenge

The Spice Bucket Challenge will be back for it’s second year! Some Toronto firefighters have generously donated their time to test your taste buds with a series of extra spicy eye-watering salsas. Challenge a friend or accept a challenge to try 5 different increasingly spicy salsas. If you complete the challenge, they pay $10, if you can’t handle the spice, you pay. All proceeds support international cleft care!

Door Prizes

Salsa for Smiles Door Prizes

As always, we will have some amazing door prizes available to be won which include dinner theatre tickets, gift certificates, salsa passes, a Givenchy gift basket and more. Simply fill out a ballot card at registration for your chance to win!

We hope to see you at Salsa for Smiles next Thursday night! Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased here. Tickets will also be available at the door for $35. If you would like to reserve a table for dinner, 416-588-0307. 

Transforming Faces: Advancing SLP Services Abroad

September 14th, 2016 by

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This article was submitted by TF volunteer, Sara Martinez, and originally published on Speech-Language and Audiology Canada’s blog, Communiqué. 

Camps, curriculums and mobile phones. These are a few of the ways a small Canadian cleft lip and palate charity is trying to combat speech-language professional shortages in low and middle income countries.

Transforming Faces is a registered charity that partners with local organizations in developing countries to ensure patients born with cleft lips or palates have access to timely surgery and comprehensive rehabilitative treatment for as long as they need it — sometimes up to 20 years. Delivering speech therapy — a central component of this comprehensive care model — requires a little creativity in low-resource environments.

In Thailand, there are approximately 160 speech-language professionals for a population of 67 million, and almost all of them are concentrated in the southern region. As a result, Transforming Faces’ partner in the north uses mobile speech camps to deliver ongoing speech support for patients from northern Thailand and the border areas of Laos and Myanmar. Through this camp approach, qualified speech-language pathologists travel to the north to train a group of speech assistants in remote communities. Speech assistants continue with patient treatment on a more regular basis, and follow-up evaluations are completed to gage the success of the training and the quality of patient care.


In Ethiopia, Transforming Faces partners with the only qualified speech-language pathologist in a country of 99 million people. To tackle this alarming professional shortage, the organization has worked with its partner, Yekatit 12 Hospital, to develop a speech-language pathology degree program curriculum for Addis Ababa University. After several years of work, the university curriculum was approved by the Ethiopian Academic Commission in August 2015 and the first cohort of eight students has now been enrolled.

Transforming Faces’ partners in Ethiopia

In India, delivering ongoing speech support for patients in highly remote, rural communities poses the biggest challenge. In response, Transforming Faces’ partner at Sri Ramachandra University developed an application called E-MPOWER that enables community-based rehabilitation workers to track and store patient information from a mobile phone device. Data is transmitted to a central database where a team of specialists can monitor patient progress, assess audio recordings and adjust treatment plans as needed.


These outside-the-box approaches aim to foster normal speech and language development, improve confidence and self-esteem and give patients born with cleft and palate a fresh lease on life, no matter where in the world they are born.