Transforming Faces Blog

You can Transform the Face of Speech Therapy

April 22nd, 2014 by

225 million people in low and middle income countries have a communication or swallowing disorder. 

There is a severe health human resources shortage due to a lack of Speech Language Therapy programs.

We have submitted a proposal to Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) which aims to change the face of speech therapy in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Thailand.


  • Watch our video
  • Click “Like” (no login or registration is needed)
  • Share this with your network and ask them to “Like” this idea

The more likes our video receives, the more likely it will be funded by GCC.

Thank you!


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1 Month Away – Join us to celebrate 15 years of Lives Transformed!

April 15th, 2014 by


Beautiful Before & After Celebration is one month away!

Join us on Thursday, May 15 from 6pm at First Canadian Place, 100 King St. W., Toronto, ON to Celebrate Lives Transformed!

100% of proceeds from Beautiful Before & After will go directly towards our global cleft programs, thanks to a private charitable foundation that covers our low overhead.
Not sure what to expect? Check out last year’s photos! 

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: We’re seeking a Board Member to join Friends of Transforming Faces USA

February 27th, 2014 by

Transforming Faces (TF) is a Canadian charity that provides free multi-disciplinary cleft lip and palate care for children and adults through local partners.

What is cleft lip and palate?

Cleft lip and palate is a congenital condition which happens in the first three months of pregnancy. A cleft occurs when the parts which make up the lip and palate fail to fuse properly. The type and severity of a cleft will vary from child to child. 

What do we do?

TF works in partnership with local cleft specialists, provides multi-disciplinary cleft care, and funds community-based medical teams. We go beyond the initial surgery to provide multi-disciplinary care, which includes speech therapy, psychological support, dental and orthodontic care. This ensures that children with cleft lip and palate have the best possible chance to live full, healthy lives.

TF also provides training, funding and knowledge sharing among cleft specialists in the developing world. We work in partnership with local medical teams and hospitals in Peru, Argentina, Ghana, Ethiopia, India, China, Thailand and Laos.

What sets us apart?

We direct 100% of all donations to our cleft programs for children around the world, thanks to a private charitable foundation which covers our overhead. The foundation also matches donations of $200 or more. Far from a typical fundraising organization, we aim to raise awareness and make friends among American supporters.

FTF Board

We are currently seeking talented and dedicated board members to join Friends of Transforming Faces USA (FTF), an American non-profit organization that shares the mission of TF and would support our innovative work.

While still in its infancy stages, FTF’s mission is to help develop networks of friends and donors who can help TF increase the number of children who have access to comprehensive cleft care in developing countries and training opportunities for our partners.

We are looking for capable and committed individuals who have some of the following attributes:

  • Experience in business, government, philanthropy, education, healthcare or the nonprofit sector
  • Interest in or experience of work in the developing world
  • A connection or understanding of the needs of people with cleft lip and palate who are served by Transforming Faces

Click here for more information.

To Apply

If you feel you have something to offer Transforming Faces, we would be delighted to hear from you.  Please send your CV with three references and a short letter explaining why you’d like to be part of the team to by April 30. 

Be a part of something special.

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Beautiful Before & After: Silent Auction Items Announced

April 17th, 2014 by


Check out some of our Silent Auction items: 
MCT with logo

Plus MANY more items! Thank you to our silent auction donors and sponsors!

Join us on May 15!

100% of proceeds from Beautiful Before & After will go directly towards our global cleft programs, thanks to a private charitable foundation that covers our low overhead.
Thank you to our silent auction donors!
  M CARIBE TROPICAL_cmyk_C redtagLogocropped
Meliá Cohiba, Havana, Cuba      Avianca version preferida fondo rojo      L_VIA-seul_bi_4c                       

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Raising Awareness in Ethiopia: Meet Sintyeh

April 10th, 2014 by

On March 25, members from our local Ethiopian partner spent time raising awareness about cleft lip and palate.

They spoke with 40 students from Special Needs Department at Addis Ababa University. The team explained the holistic approach to cleft care and the psychosocial effects of cleft lip and palate, such as bullying. 

DSC04635 DSC04646 

The students, who are from 10 different regions of Ethiopia, will now act as referrers to the project when they encounter potential cleft lip and palate patients.

The team has been working closely with schools to raise awareness and build a referral network. They wanted to specifically focus on the psychosocial effects of cleft, so they also invited elementary school teachers to learn more. Approximately 15 teachers from different schools and six parents attended. Some former patients shared their story.

Sintyeh HiluSintyeh Hilu is a 27 year old who was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate. She underwent cleft lip and palate surgery when she was 3 years old and visited Yekatit to receive speech therapy and counselling. She also underwent an ear surgery in 2012. Now, she is a teacher in Addis Ababa and wanted to share her story. She was teased often and got low grades at school because her speech was not great.

Sintyeh shared her story with the attendees and recounted: “One day, after I finished class, I was walked back to the office and I saw teachers laughing. When they saw me, they became silent. When I looked into the room, I saw that there was a student with a cleft lip and palate. They had been laughing at her speech. I immediately started to fight with them.”

The team hopes this awareness event will help reduce bullying and will allow more children to be referred to the program.

DSC04649  WP_000201


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2013 Retrospective: Ethiopia

April 8th, 2014 by

In Ethiopia, we partner with Yekatit 12 Hospital, located in Addis Ababa. It is the only hospital that provides multidisciplinary treatment for cleft lip and palate and also hosts the country’s only dedicated Speech Therapy unit.

The team faced electrical cuts and lack of anaesthetists, yet they were able to provide primary, secondary surgeries, alveolar bone grafts and rhinoplasties to patients.

Social work and counselling have played a larger role in the team’s activities in 2013. A parent group session took place last year, which allowed parents to learn more about speech, language and communication stimulation. 

Development of Ethiopia’s first degree program for Speech and Language Therapy

There is a severe shortage of speech therapists in Ethiopia. In order to bridge this gap, curriculum development for the newly created Speech Therapy program at Addis Ababa University is underway. 

Additional highlights:

  • In total, the team treated 668 patients and provided 1301 interventions. 
  • At the ENT department, 37 cleft lip and palate patients were evaluated and grommet tubes were inserted for six patients.
  • They also conducted a tympanoplasty for one patient.
  • Orthodontics assessment, treatment, follow up, oral hygiene and dental care was provided to 74 patients. 
  • Eight residents are now being trained at the plastic and reconstructive surgery unit at the Addis Ababa University College of health Sciences surgical department.
  • A new surgical unit is under construction 

Read more about our work in Ethiopia.


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