Every 3 minutes a child is born with cleft palette or lip. While this defect is seemingly harmless, the social stigma alone can devastate a family.
Children living in developing countries born with this condition are often shamed by their community and viewed as ‘cursed’ to their villages. Parents often feel helpless and resort to killing their child to avoid further punishment and ridicule. The child’s survival is also endangered by the inability to eat properly with a cleft palette or lip, leading to starvation.
Operation Smile is a charity devoted to providing surgeries for children without access to surgical care. Ambassador Darcy Huda says the surgery usually only takes around 20 minutes and costs just over 200 dollars. Yet only 3 percent of children in third-world countries have access to this kind of surgery. According to Huda, the World Health Organization still doesn’t consider it a ‘crucial’ surgery. She thinks this quick and inexpensive surgery should not be a luxury– but instead, a human right.
The charity ambassador has had the chance to attend a few of the charity’s mission trips so far and says the experience was absolutely life changing:
“The most rewarding moment was the mums seeing their babies for the very first time post op… but just seeing the look on her face and knowing that her life is changed forever and she’s not going to suffer anymore through her child is incredibly special,” says Huda.
Donors don’t have to worry about their money going to waste either– Huda says over 85 percent of donations go right back to surgeries.
A small donation of 240 dollars can save a smile– and ultimately, a life.