Transforming Faces Blog

2014 Newsletter: Summer edition now available

July 30th, 2014 by


TF’s Summer Newsletter Highlights: 

  • Lives Transformed through medical training in Ethiopia
  • Meet Bethlehem
  • Beyond the Initial Surgery: An Update about Susana and Taiel
  • The NIFTY Cup
  • Mobile App Update
  • Thai Speech Camps and Birth Registry

Download our latest newsletter! 

Bookmark and Share

Meet Junlawat Nithut

July 29th, 2014 by

Junlawat Nithut was born on December 24, 2013 with a complete bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate. He and his family live in Amphur Kosumpisai, Mahasarakham Province, Thailand.


When he was born, a nurse at Kosumpisai Hospital registered him online and referred him to the Tawanchai Cleft Center in order to receive further treatment.

His mother, Mrs. Orasa Sornton, explains that she was initially afraid upon her son’s birth.

“When I had my ultrasound check, it did not show that my son had a cleft lip and cleft palate…When I first saw my son, I was so hopeless, heartbroken and wondered why this happened to him,” she explains.

“When I arrived [at the Tawainchai Cleft Centre], I received a warm welcome from the nurses and suggestions for treatment based on my child’s age. I looked at the pictures of children with cleft lip and cleft palate who have been treated at this center and I was able to meet other families who are facing the same circumstances. That gave me hope,” she explains.  She also credits the doctors and nurses with giving her hope.  

Bookmark and Share

Meet Rachaneekorn

July 24th, 2014 by

Rachaneekorn Wimonrat, from the Mae Jan District of Chiang Rai province, was born with a cleft lip and palate in another province in Thailand.

Rachaneekorn 1 Rachaneekorn 2 Rachaneekorn 4

She was brought to live with her grandmother in Chiang Rai shortly after her birth. Her lip was repaired when she was 4 months old and her palate was repaired when she was one and a half years of age.

Now at age 9, Rachaneekorn attends the Thai speech camps with her grandmother, Ms. Saengda, who makes snacks and herbal drinks for sale in the Mar Jan District.

Ms. Saengda has volunteered to cook alongside the patients and make local snacks from rice flour, coconut, green bean. The children really enjoyed making these snacks.

Apart from being a distraction for the patients, it also serves to educate attendees about proper nutrition and serves as a way to bring patients together to share their experiences.  Nutrition is an important component of proper development and preparedness for cleft care, so our partner thought this was a great way to bring patients together while also talking about nutrition.

On hand at this camp was a nutritionist and a nurse from Overbrook Hospital, as well as Ms. Tanyaratch, a social worker from NWDF, who facilitated a discussion about proper nutrition during pregnancy.

Bookmark and Share

Meet Luciano

July 22nd, 2014 by

Born with a unilateral complete cleft (on the left side),  Luciano Avila underwent his first lip surgery at 11 months old and the second palate surgery occurred when he was five. 

Débora  Herrera said that she did not know her son had a cleft because no trace of it appeared on the ultrasound. However, there is a history of cleft in the family. She was initially scared in the delivery room because they wouldn’t let her see her baby but she eventually was allowed to see him and accepted him fully.

His surgery was delayed, initially, because there were a lack of available practitioners and shifts at the Children’s Hospital.

He is now eight years old and the family visits Fundacion GAVINA in Argentina for support. 


Bookmark and Share

Thai Speech camps: Update

July 17th, 2014 by

There is a shortage of speech pathologists and audiologists in Northern Thailand. As a result, many children do not receive this much needed care. 

In 2012, TF and Smile Train co-supported speech and dental camps to help children in this underserved area access speech therapy and dentistry services.

In 2013, Speech Camps continued to provide decentralized speech therapy, as well as oral health education for children and adults affected by cleft in the rural regions of Thailand and Laos.

Over two years, 18 patients from distant communities received speech therapy with the support of speech language pathologists (SLPs) from four hospitals and two universities.

Four intensive speech camps and another five quarterly follow up meetings took place. Eight speech assistants were trained to provide weekly speech sessions in rural locations.

In future, TF hopes to expand this Speech Camp into Laos, where there is a lack of services. The camp’s 18 patients will continue to receive follow up care.

Those who attended the camps were very appreciative of the care they provided.

“I am glad to have this project. I would like to thank the staff and teachers. My granddaughter has good speech now. The teachers at school say my niece can speak clearly like other children and gets along well with her friends,” said Mrs. Saengdao Wimonrat from Mae Jan district.

Mobile services, such as these camps, are helpful for patients in regions where limited health care services exist, especially at the border of both Myanmar and Laos.

Our partner hopes to continue this camp system and possibly replicate this system in other underserved regions of Thailand. 

Bookmark and Share