Meet Keren. At just two and a half years old, she persevered through two surgeries to repair a cleft lip she was born with. Her parents had never met anyone with a cleft lip before, so they had to learn to navigate the stigma and confusion from their family and friends after their daughter was born. They worried about the challenges she would face in learning to speak and eat, and the effects it would have on her self-esteem as she grew up. Surgery would require treatment in a specialised hospital in Honduras’ capital, an option that her parents did not believe they would be able to afford alongside the travel and accommodation expenses entailed in Keren’s recovery.
Dr Luis González and Smile Train work to provide services to people like Keren who do not otherwise have realistic access to the medical services needed for cleft repair surgery and post-surgery support. After seeing Dr González’s advertisement on TV, Keren’s parents were able to travel to Hospital Escuela for the two surgeries needed to repair her lip, as well as the speech therapy sessions required to develop her speech and language skills. Thanks to the support of Smile Train and its local partner NGO Fundación Abrigo, Keren’s family receives housing and meals during their continuing visits to Hospital Escuela, helping them focus on Keren’s recovery. Now she has a radiant smile, and thoroughly enjoys being a toddler!