Transforming Faces Blog

Beyond a Single Surgery: Meet Ismael

August 20th, 2014 by

ismael 1Ismael is a 12 year old from the San Juan de Lurigancho district of Lima, Peru.

Born on Nov. 4, 1999, with a cleft lip and palate, he has had four operations since his birth. Last year, his classmates at school began to bully him because of his cleft scar.

His parents decided to visit KusiRostros, where he began to recieve speech therapy and where he also visits a psychologist and orthodontist.

His parents, whose relationship was strengthened as they pulled together to deal with his early cleft care, are very proud that he was able to overcome adversity. His mother is thrilled about the help she received at KusiRostros. She mentions that it is important to have this care close to home.

Ismael is now happier. He loves soccer and math.

Your donation will support much more than surgery for newborns – it ensure that children born with cleft lip and palate will receive comprehensive, free, and local care for as long as they need. 

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Pictured: Ismael as a child and in 2013.


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Lives Transformed in India

August 19th, 2014 by

TF partners with Speech and Orthodontic specialists at Chennai’s Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) to Speech & Orthodontic care to rural families in the Thiruvannamalai  & Cuddalore Districts.

On a trip to India earlier this year, our team members met some of the patients whose lives who have helped transform.


Saddrinath (8 years old), his brother, Gopinath (11 years old), and their mother are pictured.

Both brothers were born with cleft lip and palate. Their lips were repaired at a local hospital. However, the surgery was not satisfactory and they refused palate surgery. In 2013, our partner’s field worker identified them and counselled them on the necessity of further treatment. They have since received a successful palate surgery and speech therapy. 


Rubina, 10, and her dad are pictured.

Rubina has visited the team at SRU since she was a year old. She has had all her treatments and surgeries with the project. She will need a pharyngoplasty, which will improve the function of her soft palate by closing off the escape of air through her nose. It will improve her speech and communication. 



Sandhiya, 12, is pictured. She was referred to SRU when she was born at a nearby local hospital. From there, local community health workers used the cleft registry to follow up. Her dad likes that someone calls to tell them that the team is coming, since it’s very difficult to go for appointments.

A lot of parents don’t go to speech camps provided by our partners because they have to register for 100 days of guaranteed work on Thursdays. Sandhiya wants to be a doctor when she grows up so she can work at SRU and do free treatments.


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Gavina Recycling Program: Tapitas y Botellas por Sonrisas

August 14th, 2014 by

TF partners with GAVINA in Argentina. Recently, our partner has begun a recycling program called Tapitas y Botellas por Sonrisas that aims to recycle goods to fund even more smiles. 


Monica Galvan, pictured, has worked as GAVINA’s psychologist & fundraiser since 2006. She routinely reaches out to rotary clubs and obtains supplies for the clinic.

She is also a music teacher at Escuela Ciudadela, a Public School, since 2007. The Director of the school has a daughter who has a cleft, so she is supportive of Monica’s second job at GAVINA. At the school, there is a recycling program. In March of this year, she contacted the Municipality of San Miguel Tucuman, to see if the recycling program could also be carried out at GAVINA.

She was told that GAVINA could benefit from the lids and bottles that were collected. They receive $0.20 CAD/kg for lids and $0.15 CAD/kg for bottles. She has raised awareness among patients and parents about the recycling program. It has been well-received and parents have brought bottles and lids in with each visit. They have also put boxes in schools. 

The final weigh in will be happening soon so stay tuned for the grand total! 




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Beyond the Initial Surgery: Meet Athit

August 13th, 2014 by

In Thailand, TF partners with Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF).

Athit Aetae was born with a cleft lip and palate. Referred by a nurse at Mae Sai District Hospital, he was admitted at two days old in January 2014. He received an ENT assessment and lip repair in May 2014. Later that month, a nasoform, a non-surgical treatment that helps shape the nose, was applied. 

He is the fourth and youngest child of a family from Myanmar.  The family now lives approximately 55 km away from the Thai-Myanmar border. 

His palate repair will take place in May 2015.

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Pictured in May before surgery (left) and after surgery (right, with nasoform, and below)

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Meet Facundo from Argentina

August 12th, 2014 by














Facundo Jerez, a 4 year old boy from Argentina, was born with a unilateral complete lip and palate cleft. He received his first surgery when he was seven months old and his palate was repaired when he was a year old. His mother, Mabel, heard about the services at GAVINA through a neighbour, whose son had a cleft.

Facundo now attends kindergarten and travels two hours by bus with his mother to access treatment at our partner clinic, GAVINA. He receives counselling and speech therapy. When he is a bit older, he will have a bone graft. He enjoys visiting the ‘doctora’ and playing with the games and toys he uses to do his speech therapy.


His family is very supportive and his older sisters, mom and dad all help bring him to his weekly appointments.

Our partner in Argentina, GAVINA, hosts two raffles a year, with the help of parents. Prizes include a coffee maker, thermos, and towel sets. Ten tickets are valued at ten pesos. Mabel is a huge supporter and regularly sells raffle tickets to benefit GAVINA. The money raised is directed to parties and small gifts for patients around Christmas and National Children’s Day (held in August). 

Pictured above: Facundo during a speech therapy session and with his mother. Pictured below: Maria del Carmen, the social worker at Gavina, was distributing tickets to parents.





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