From Hatred to Acceptance – Ericka’s Journey of Self-Love

On the 8th of October, a couple was blessed with the birth of their beautiful daughter, Ericka. She was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.  How she looked didn’t matter to them. All that mattered was giving her the best life possible.

Ericka knew she was different. As a young girl, it bothered her. The weird stares from strangers and the hurtful words of kids dented her self-esteem. ” I used to be alone. I hated people. I hated myself,” she said as she reminisced.However, her family stood by her like a rock. She considers herself fortunate to have their constant love and support.“I’m here because of them,” she said. Without them, her journey would have been far more daunting.

Read More 

Deron’s Story

Every moment has been a surprise for Rachelle since the birth of her first born son: Deron.

Deron, a beautiful and energetic 2 year old, began an unexpected journey in Rachelle’s life. Looking forward to a normal pregnancy, Rachelle never saw the challenges coming her way. All her prenatal scans had shown up normal, with almost no indication of a cleft or an extra chromosome.

Read More 

Khadija’s Story

After months of prayers, two nights in labour, and 35 minutes before her mother’s birthday ended, baby Khadija arrived. This baby was indeed special.

As Aishabi held her precious baby, many questions swam in her head: Would the baby be fine? How will we feed her? Will the gap in the roof of her mouth heal on its own?

Read More 

Dr. Eeva’s Story

It was the last day of the July 2021 medical mission in the UAE. Some of the medical volunteers, students, and coordinators had gathered in the staff room after a tiring but rewarding day. Someone suggested playing a game of I-spy-with-my-little-eye. The most enthusiastic player was, of course, Dr. Eeva.

Dr. Eeva-Liisa, more popularly known as simply Dr. Eeva, joined Operation Smile UAE’s medical team in 2012. Since then, she has been contributing to the organisation with her arsenal of experience and her never-ending, lighthearted jokes.

Read More

A Radio Announcement Reaches This Hopeful Family

After each appointment, doctors told Nora that everything was progressing well, and she continued to become more eager to meet her son. But when that day finally arrived, Nora saw what the ultrasounds didn’t.

Damian was born with a cleft lip. 

Before handing Damian to Nora, the medical team calmly explained how Damian would need surgery. 

Nora held her son in her arms and cried, not knowing what the future would hold.

Read More 

A Smile That Will Last a Lifetime

Mina’s parents were told that her cleft condition was the result of witchcraft.
Although her dad, Jangiya, and her mom, Zayinabu, didn’t believe in these misconceptions, which are common in developing countries like Malawi, they were still unsure of what had caused Mina’s cleft lip. And they were even more uncertain of how they would help their daughter.

Zayinabu and Jangiya vowed to do everything they could to give Mina the happy and fulfilling life that they knew she deserved, but many of their questions went unanswered.

Read More

For more patient stories Operation Smile Blog