Monday, December 20, 2010

Repairing Cleft Palates for Guatemalan Babies

Approximately 1 in 700 children worldwide are born with one or both congenital facial deformities known as a cleft lip or cleft palate. In most developed countries like the United States, babies born with this condition are operated upon within the first 2-3 months after birth.
But here in Guatemala, most of the rural families are too poor to afford the surgery. As a result, their babies' cleft lips and palates go untreated, which in many cases leads to malnutrition and death, as the babies often have trouble breast-feeding. Those babies that DO survive are often marginalized from society and become outcasts in their villages. I have seen fully-grown teenagers that rarely leave their house or always wear a bandana in front of their mouth to avoid shame. What a sad reality knowing that for $200, their deformity can be easily corrected.

With that desire in mind, Cause & Affect searched out a Guatemalan organization that conducts this procedure for families in need. T.E.S.S. Unlimited, founded by Tessa de Goede de OrdoƱez, locates babies in rural Guatemala whose families cannot afford the surgery. They bring them to a social-welfare clinic to be diagnosed and operated on by a team of Canadian doctors that volunteer their services for these (and other) operations. $200 covers the costs of transport, medicine, follow-up care, speech therapy and the surgical procedure. Based on the needs presented by T.E.S.S. Unlimited, Cause & Affect stepped in to sponsor the three babies whose surgeries needed to be funded.

As you can see from the video, it is incredibly easy and cheap to completely transform a baby's life and opportunities. Looking at the before & after shots, keep in mind just how far $200 can go.
In the holiday spirit, please contribute to wonderful projects such as this on our website. Simply click here to donate via Paypal or credit card. As you can see, every dollar goes a long way towards improving peoples' lives! Thanks for your continued support!

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