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Operation for Children with Cleft Lip and Palate

March 20, 2012 ·  By Preda

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Operations for Children with Cleft Lips and PalatesThe first time I saw a child with a hole in her face was long ago in 1972 . I was assigned as assistant parish Priest in San Marcelino, Zambales I brought the parish religious teachers to the rural school. While waiting outside I rounded a corner and there I was face to face with a child of enormous ugliness and frightening appearance. She had a massive facial deformity -a cleft Palate. Where she ought to have a mouth and a nose instead there was a hole and single tooth protruded The poor child looked hideous and she knew it. Surely she must have had to endure the taunts of the other children or be branded a freak. They cannot not talk, laugh or smile.

How could I ever forget that terrible deformity of a young 12 year old child that felt the pain of deformity and ugliness. The Cleft palate and cleft lip condition can be so severe that the child sometime cannot eat properly and has to be spoon fed and even drink through a straw . He or she suffers the humiliation, shame and fear of having to be outside the normal life of a child growing up. These children are denied a normal life . I soon found many more children with these facial deformities in San Marcelino and neighboring towns and I began Operation Harelip.

This was in coordination with the Philippine Band of Mercy based in Quezon City Metro Manila. I wrote about it in the Columban Missionary magazine The Far East and gathered donations generously given by kind hearted readers and was able to send and support the children in manila while the awaited for an charity operation arranged by the Band of Mercy in various hospitals. It was a great success and continued and over the years other charities also picked up the work and many hundreds of children with cleft lips and palates have been restored to a more normal life.

Now in 2012 the work still goes on and it is renewed here at Preda Home for Children. The Preda project today is being revived in cooperation with the PBM. Preda will seek out the children in need of operation, will bring them for the pre-screening and medical check up and make the arrangements with the Municipal Hospital of San Marcelino where the operations wil be preformed. We will provide the logistics ,transport and accommodation for a medical team to come from metro Manila.

The Philippine Band of Mercy takes care of the operations and medicines. The Preda team of nurses, educated by friends and supporters of Preda over the past years, will do the post operation care and follow up. As many as 30 children are now being prepared for the operation. They will soon have a face lift and a more normal appearance and a happier life. It costs as little as Fifty Euro for Preda to get a child an operation. Please donate and help us to help more children have something to really smile about

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