Transforming Faces Blog

Salsa for Smiles One Week Away!

September 22nd, 2016 by

Our 7th Annual Salsa for Smiles event is only ONE WEEK AWAY!

Join us on Thursday September 29th for an evening of salsa dancing, live music and smiles in support of cleft care. Here a few of the exciting things in store for you at this year’s event:

Salsa Lessons


As always, Salsa for Smiles will include introductory salsa dance lessons taught from professionals from Toronto’s Steps Dance Studio. Afterwards, there will be live salsa music so you can practice your new moves all night long.

The Spice Bucket Challenge

Salsa for Smiles Spice Bucket Challenge

The Spice Bucket Challenge will be back for it’s second year! Some Toronto firefighters have generously donated their time to test your taste buds with a series of extra spicy eye-watering salsas. Challenge a friend or accept a challenge to try 5 different increasingly spicy salsas. If you complete the challenge, they pay $10, if you can’t handle the spice, you pay. All proceeds support international cleft care!

Door Prizes

Salsa for Smiles Door Prizes

As always, we will have some amazing door prizes available to be won which include dinner theatre tickets, gift certificates, salsa passes, a Givenchy gift basket and more. Simply fill out a ballot card at registration for your chance to win!

We hope to see you at Salsa for Smiles next Thursday night! Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased here. Tickets will also be available at the door for $35. If you would like to reserve a table for dinner, 416-588-0307. 

Bookmark and Share

Transforming Faces: Advancing SLP Services Abroad

September 14th, 2016 by

This article was submitted by TF volunteer, Sara Martinez, and originally published on Speech-Language and Audiology Canada’s blog, Communiqué. 

Camps, curriculums and mobile phones. These are a few of the ways a small Canadian cleft lip and palate charity is trying to combat speech-language professional shortages in low and middle income countries.

Transforming Faces is a registered charity that partners with local organizations in developing countries to ensure patients born with cleft lips or palates have access to timely surgery and comprehensive rehabilitative treatment for as long as they need it — sometimes up to 20 years. Delivering speech therapy — a central component of this comprehensive care model — requires a little creativity in low-resource environments.

In Thailand, there are approximately 160 speech-language professionals for a population of 67 million, and almost all of them are concentrated in the southern region. As a result, Transforming Faces’ partner in the north uses mobile speech camps to deliver ongoing speech support for patients from northern Thailand and the border areas of Laos and Myanmar. Through this camp approach, qualified speech-language pathologists travel to the north to train a group of speech assistants in remote communities. Speech assistants continue with patient treatment on a more regular basis, and follow-up evaluations are completed to gage the success of the training and the quality of patient care.


In Ethiopia, Transforming Faces partners with the only qualified speech-language pathologist in a country of 99 million people. To tackle this alarming professional shortage, the organization has worked with its partner, Yekatit 12 Hospital, to develop a speech-language pathology degree program curriculum for Addis Ababa University. After several years of work, the university curriculum was approved by the Ethiopian Academic Commission in August 2015 and the first cohort of eight students has now been enrolled.

Transforming Faces’ partners in Ethiopia

In India, delivering ongoing speech support for patients in highly remote, rural communities poses the biggest challenge. In response, Transforming Faces’ partner at Sri Ramachandra University developed an application called E-MPOWER that enables community-based rehabilitation workers to track and store patient information from a mobile phone device. Data is transmitted to a central database where a team of specialists can monitor patient progress, assess audio recordings and adjust treatment plans as needed.


These outside-the-box approaches aim to foster normal speech and language development, improve confidence and self-esteem and give patients born with cleft and palate a fresh lease on life, no matter where in the world they are born.

Bookmark and Share

Thiago’s Transformation

August 26th, 2016 by

Today, seven-year-old Thiago is all smiles!


Last year, he joined our partner program in Argentina, Fundación Gavina. Here, he receives speech therapy, dental care and psychosocial counseling. He attends treatment sessions with his mother, Jorgelina Jerez.

Thiago is described as a very sweet and kind young boy. He loves playing with toy dinosaurs when he visits Gavina.


Bookmark and Share

Meet Augustín from Argentina

August 18th, 2016 by

11-month-old Augustín is one of the newest cleft patients at our partner program in Argentina, Gavina. He is from a suburb just outside of the city of San Miguel de Tucumán where our program is based. His cousin was already a patient here which is how his mother, Blanca Micaela, found out about the organization.


Blanca Micaela is currently receiving nutrition support to ensure Augustín gets the right nutrients, and psychosocial counseling to help with her better understand and manage his treatment plan.


Bookmark and Share

A Bright Future Ahead for Hayat

August 10th, 2016 by

When Fatuma Bashir gave birth to her only child, Hayat, she felt shocked and confused. She had never heard about or seen a cleft lip before. Luckily, Fatuma learned about our program at Yekatit 12 Hospital in Ethiopia from a friend and travelled an hour and a half to seek treatment for Hayat.


According to Fatuma, “this program was helpful to me because I came here when she was only three days old and I was able to receive a lot of information. Also seeing pictures of other children who have the same condition helped me accept it more.”

Hayat has received lip surgery and nutrition counseling from our team in Ethiopia. In a few years, she will also undergo a nose reconstruction surgery.


Fatuma was overjoyed that her daughter was able to receive free, quality care from a young age. At just over one year old, Hayat has her whole life ahead of her and, thanks to you, her future is looking a lot brighter.

Bookmark and Share