Transforming Faces Blog

NAM Training a Huge Success!

February 24th, 2015 by

On Monday February 16, six orthodontists from TF partner organizations in Peru, Argentina and Chile arrived in snowy Toronto to take part in our first ever collaborative training program with the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry.NAM Training 2

The three-day program provided in-depth training on Nasoalveolar Moulding (NAM), an important method used by orthodontists to reshape the nose, gums and lips of an infant with cleft lip and palate prior to surgery.  The six participants and TF’s Peru Project Director, Maria Teresa Torres, took part in lectures, demonstrations and a full-day laboratory workshop led by TF Consultant (Orthodontics) Sandra Fastlicht, and some of Canada’s top orthodontics and cleft care professionals.

Infants born with CLP often require multiple surgeries spanning over many years, and can experience significant facial scarring. With the help of a NAM device, trained orthodontists can help limit the number and complexity of surgeries a patient needs and, as a result, can dramatically improve the appearance and overall health of the child post-surgery.


Our training participants had the opportunity to not only develop a vital new skill that will help improve the lives of their patients, but also to see multidisciplinary cleft care in action by hearing from and shadowing each of the specialists from Sick Kids’ world-renowned cleft care team. These invaluable learnings will improve the quality of the care the participants provide and give them the knowledge they need to train peers in their respective communities.

Thankfully, this program was much more than a one-way knowledge exchange. The participants from Peru, Argentina and Chile took advantage of this opportunity to learn from one another, share best practices and collaboratively find innovative solutions that work in their local cultural contexts.  As an organization that strives to improve the capacity of our international partners and facilitate South-South knowledge exchanges, TF was thrilled to see cleft care professionals from four countries come together so seamlessly, absorb so much in a short period of time and demonstrate a commitment to sharing these new skills with their peers back home.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this training course possible including Sandra Fastlicht, Dr. Bryan Thompson and the amazing team at Sick Kids, the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and Dr. Bruno Vendittelli from Forest Hill Orthodontics. 

The next phase of this project will involve follow up evaluations at each of the participants’ health institutions to ensure the course materials have been implemented effectively. Stay tuned for updates! 

Training participants with Dr. Bryan Thompson (third from left) and TF Consultant Sandra Fastlicht (centre)

NAM training participants celebrating their achievement with Dr. Bryan Thompson (third from left) and TF Consultant Sandra Fastlicht (centre). 


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Beautiful Before & After 2015

February 9th, 2015 by

Save the Date - BB&A 2015

Our 2015 Beautiful Before & After event will take place on May 21, 2015 at BMO Conference & Event Centre, First Canadian Place in Toronto. Don’t miss out on this evening of exquisite food and drink, heartfelt celebration and an enticing silent auction. 

There will be amazing auction prizes up for grabs, including a seven-night all-inclusive stay at the incredible Paradisus Princesa del Mar resort in Varadero, Cuba! Stay tuned for ticket information and prize updates over the next few months. 

Princesa del Mar Resort

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International Development Week 2015

January 30th, 2015 by

February 1-7, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of International Development Week, a time dedicated to learning about and actively engaging in international development issues. Don’t miss your chance to get involved! 

Attend an event 

International Development Week (IDW) celebrations will happening all around Canada. Check out this DFATD listing or visit your regional council for international cooperation website for details on public engagement activities happening throughout the week.

Transformations 2015This year, Transforming Faces is excited to be part of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)’s Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in Peru, a collaborative photojournalism project intended to increase dialogue and further understanding of international partnerships that address complex global challenges.

OCIC will be presenting a week-long virtual and physical photo exhibit highlighting stories and photos from Transforming Faces and Save the Children’s projects in Peru. This will be a unique opportunity to learn more about our work and the patients we support!

The physical exhibition will be kicked off with a free Peruvian-themed launch party event on Tuesday February 3rd at Metro Hall in Toronto. To register for the launch party event, click here

The free week-long public exhibit will be held from February 2-6 in the Metro Hall Rotundra at 2o0 Wellington St. W in Toronto.

Micro-exhibits will also be held at select locations throughout the city including: 

  • CBC Atrium – 205 Wellington St. W
  • Centre for Social Innovation (Spadina) – 215 Spadina Ave., 4th Floor
  • Centre for Social Innovation (Regent Park) – 585 Dundas St. E, 3rd Floor
  • Various Toronto Public Library locations – click here for more details. 

Learn more about cleft lip & palate

IDW is an opportunity to take the time to inform yourself about key development issues. Over the course of the week, we’ll be posting information about cleft lip and palate on Twitter using the hashtag #CleftFacts. Please follow along and join the conversation! 

You can also check out the following resources to learn more about this important cause:

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Comprehensive Care in Action: Meet Christiana

January 27th, 2015 by

 Afia Obuobi BeforeChristiana Adubea Obuobi was born with a cleft lip and palate in March 2013 in the Volta Region of Ghana. With no prior incidence of cleft in the family’s history and limited awareness of the condition, Christiana’s parents, Grace and Edward, were extremely scared and unsure of where to turn. Thankfully, the hospital notified the family about the cleft care project at TF’s partner facility, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

It has been a tough journey for Christiana and her family. Because of strong social stigma against cleft lip and palate, Grace said she didn’t allow her friends to see Christiana until after the surgeries were completed. Grace’s relatives also insisted she wait to christen her daughter until her cleft had been repaired. So when Christiana’s cleft lip and palate were repaired in February 2014 and June 2014 respectively, it came as a huge relief to her parents.

Christiana Adobea Obuobi - After 3While Christiana’s surgeries were successful, she and her family still face a long road ahead. She has begun speaking but has difficulty pronouncing words clearly. Christiana is scheduled to attend a panel clinic and begin receiving speech therapy at Korle Bu very soon. 

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Beyond the Initial Surgery: Meet Lah

January 20th, 2015 by


Lah before his cleft lip and palate were repaired in 2011

Lah Sornmanee was born with a cleft lip and palate in Udom Village, Bokeo Province in Laos. He is the youngest of three children and his father works in construction earning just over $800 per year. When Lah was ten months old, he was admitted to our Thai partner project to have his cleft lip and cleft palate repaired.


Three months after Lah’s second surgery, he began receiving speech therapy. After a speech assessment in December 2011, Lah started visiting a mobile speech unit, and getting regular dental and ear assessments. In 2014, Lah was recruited to the speech camp at Bokeo Hospital, near the Thai-Laotian Border and there he continues to receive speech support. 
Speech camps are an innovative short-term solution to address the lack of trained speech language pathologists and speech development services in Thailand and Laos. While Thailand has one of the highest cleft incidences in the world, the country only has 108 trained speech pathologists and of these, only six are based in the northern region. 

Thanks to participation in speech camps and ongoing support from his mother, Mrs. Jansee, Lah’s speech has dramatically improved. Today, at four-and-a-half years old, Lah is described as a very happy boy who’s always smiling and eager to make new friends. 


Lah attending speech therapy in 2014


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