Transforming Faces Blog

Thoughts from Peru: Dr. Sandra Fastlicht

November 21st, 2014 by

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 

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E-MPOWER Project Wins Award

November 13th, 2014 by

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. 

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2014 Fall Newsletter Now Available!

November 7th, 2014 by

TF Fall Newsletter Highlights:

  • Strengthening Cleft Care through Training and Teamwork
  • New Dental Referral Centre in Peru
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Sandra Fastlicht
  • Meet Kelvin
  • Hispanic Philanthropy Conference

Download our latest newsletter here

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Beyond a Single Surgery: Meet Radhika

October 21st, 2014 by

Radhika was born with a cleft lip and palate in a small village in the Thiruvannamalai district of India. Dhanalakshmi, Radhika’s mother, reported that it was very difficult to get her primary surgeries done at a government hospital and she was not able to afford the cost of travel for follow up appointments.

In 2005, Radhika was admitted into our project run by Sri Ramachandra University (SRU).  Here, she was able to receive orthodontic care and speech therapy services directly in her community.

Today, Radhika is 19 years old and among the oldest beneficiaries enrolled in our partner project in India. Thanks to the support she has been able to access close to home, Radhika says she gained the self-confidence to face the outside world and was treated the same as the other children in school.

While in school, Radhika developed an interest in English and became a highly accomplished English speaker. She has now started college and hopes to become an English teacher one day. She said she would also like to help transform the lives of other children who have had a similar experience. 


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Job opportunity: Communications & Stewardship Coordinator

September 10th, 2014 by

Transforming Faces is a small Canadian charity that provides free multi-disciplinary cleft care for children and adults in developing countries. We work in partnership with local cleft specialists and fund community-based medical teams. We go beyond the initial surgery, meaning wherever possible our local cleft teams include: audiologists, dentists, nurse co-ordinators, orthodontists, social workers, speech therapists and surgeons.  Our hope is that children and adults with cleft lip and palate can access local, comprehensive care that will allow them to lead full and happy lives.

Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Communications & Stewardship Coordinator will play an important part in developing and implementing the organization’s communications, programming and fundraising operations in the following areas:

External Outreach & Communications

  • Develops marketing and advocacy strategies
  • Implements an annual communication plan, with input from internal stakeholders
  • Coordinates the design and production of all electronic and written communication, including annual report, newsletters, eNews, project briefings, and promotional materials
  • Responsible for media relations
  • Maintains Transforming Faces (TF) website, implements SEO best practices, and coordinate web hosting
  • Responsible for advertising – both online (Google Grants, Google Image Ads & Facebook Ads) and in print
  • Responsible for creating weekly content for the blog, with input from internal stakeholders
  • Responsible for weekly and monthly analytical reporting
  • Manages social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, G+, YouTube and LinkedIN) and connect with cleft community
  • Monitors the international cleft and related health sector, including social media discussions
  • Coordinates with suppliers and vendors, such as graphic designers

Fundraising & Donor Stewardship

  • Coordinates and develops fundraising activities, including: mail appeals, grant proposals, corporate sponsorship appeals, and third party events
  • Leads the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors and sponsors
  • Identifies annual fundraising goals and priorities, and oversees budget  
  • Manages SUMAC, TF’s donor information system
  • Supports donor recognition and relationship development efforts including coordinating thank you letters, donor surveys and donor appreciation events
  • Acts as the main point of contact for all donor and prospect inquiries 
  • Develops fundraising presentations and represents TF at events, conferences and other networking opportunities
  • Manages third party fundraising events and contracts
  • Provides resources and training to support TF partners with their local fundraising efforts
  • Collaborates in the set up of Friends of Transforming Faces (USA)

Proposal Development

  • Liaises with project partners to collect information, write grants and fulfill reporting requirements
  • Researches and maintains a database of potential grant opportunities
  • Maintains an accurate calendar of grant deadlines and ensures timely submissions

Fundraising Events

  • Manages event promotion, advertising, and media relations.
  • Provides Office Coordinator with logistical support for annual TF events

Internal Communications

  • Works with program staff, overseas partners and international medical personnel to interpret medical and program outcomes into reports, information pieces, testimonials and stories
  • Facilitates communication with and among project partners to support local communications goals and to generate best practices among projects (stories of team activities and patient outcomes)
  • Facilitates online partner forum & networking
  • Collaborates and provides insight into partner’s social media outreach

Required Skills:

  • Degree in communications, marketing, fundraising or related field preferred
  • 3 years’ experience in fundraising, donor stewardship and/or marketing
  • Previous proposal writing, fundraising and event management  experience required
  • Excellent research, data management and data analysis skills
  • Proven ability to work with a diverse group of stakeholders in a cross-cultural team environment
  • Spanish language skills are an asset
  • Experience with SUMAC, WordPress, Photoshop and Hootsuite are an asset
  • Must have excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Self-motivated and organized
  • Ability to conduct international travel is desirable

Please submit your resume, cover letter and salary expectations by October 1, 2014.  All submissions must be submitted electronically to []

No phone calls, visits or mail please.

We encourage only those candidates with the above specified qualifications to apply. TF thanks all applicants but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

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