Fund one child's cleft lip surgery, help two

A non-profit organisation aims at performing 2,700 free operations this year

BENGALURU:  ● Anon-profit organisation is performing over 2,000 free cleft-lip correctional surgeries to make children with the deformity independent so that they are not discriminated against.

Akila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja (ABMSS) has started a crowdfunding campaign on FuelADream. The German organisation Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe E V is also contributing to the cause by matching every donation made through the online platform. So for every crowd-sponsored surgery, the German organisation will fund another.

So far the campaign, with a target of Rs  30 lakh, has raised more than Rs  4.5 lakh so far.

ABMSS introduced cleft lip and palate treatment in 2013, and has gone on to focus entirely on this.

Dushyant Prasad, General Secretary, ABMSS says, “We want to spread awareness that this deformity can be corrected. Children with cleft lips and palate are generally ostracised by the society. We want to change this, and make them independent.”

Since, it has been enabling 2,000 surgeries a year. The treatment requires couple of surgeries over the years to fix the issue. However, it could take up to 16 years of a person’s life to correct the deformity, depending on its severity.

It’s thanks to this programme that Vasanthi, who’s featured on a video on the crowdfunding platform, went from being someone whose appearance people were horrified by to working as an air-hostess.

Before the surgeries, she went into depression after because she was constantly isolated. Her family was only her support.

Leena Margaret, a mother of two-year-old Lenwin who has undergone five surgeries for cleft lip and cleft palate, says her son would attract ‘weird looks’ every time she took him out.

“But he is doing fine now,” she says. “His two surgeries failed and hence had to undergo the surgery again. He had his last surgery two weeks ago.”

He will undergo next surgery at the age of 9 years.

“Breastfeeding him was difficult as he has no palate, but the doctors have instructed me how to do it,” she says.

With seven on board, including healthcare professionals, therapists and orthopaedic surgeons, ABMSS also offers speech therapy programmes.

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