Restoring smiles in Kijabe with CURE Kenya and Smile Train

Dr. Esther Nyambura Njoroge, Smile Train’s Regional Director for Africa, wrote the following after a recent visit to CURE Kenya with Idah Nguma, Miss World Kenya 2014.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending the day with cleft lip and palate patients at CURE Kenya. These children and their parents had travelled from all over the country following an aggressive mobilization drive by the hospital. CURE International has been a partner with international children’s cleft charity, Smile Train, since 2006. With Smile Train’s support, CURE International has provided free surgeries to more than 8,000 children worldwide. CURE Kenya was the first hospital established by CURE International, and here, 1,554 cleft lip and palate patients have benefited. This year alone they target to reach over 200 children.

Talking to these parents and hearing their stories is humbling—stories of desertion, isolation, discrimination, and sheer struggle. One grandmother told me she was taking care of her granddaughter because the mother left the day the baby was born, never wanting to be associated with “that thing.” The gratitude from the parents for the free service is heartwarming. The direction of their lives had been changed in a span of hours.

One particular girl caught my attention. She was not on a patient bed, rather, she was wearing a staff uniform. Only an experienced eye could tell she once had a cleft lip; what is left now is a thin scar. Milka is a beneficiary of free cleft lip and palate surgery at CURE Kenya, and after her schooling, she has come back to volunteer at the hospital. This is her way of giving back. She is such a sweet girl and a true testimony of a life transformed.

Milka, in the middle, with Dr. Esther Njoroge and Idah Nguma

Milka, in the middle, with Dr. Esther Njoroge and Idah Nguma

A light moment with one of the patients who had traveled over 300km for surgery

A light moment with one of the patients who had traveled over 300km for surgery

Baby Angela, her dad, and Miss World Kenya, Idah

Baby Angela, her dad, and Idah

Before and after photos of baby Tasha, printed by the surgical team. What a nice touch!

Before and after photos of baby Tasha, printed by the surgical team. What a nice touch!

Dr. Esther Njoroge and Miss World Kenya looking at the before and after phots of baby Tasha

Dr. Esther Njoroge and Miss World Kenya looking at the before and after phots of baby Tasha

Dr. Esther Njoroge saying hello to baby Tasha

Dr. Esther Njoroge saying hello to baby Tasha

Miss World Kenya with some of the volunteers

Miss World Kenya with some of the volunteers

Miss World Kenya and Dr. Esther Njoroge with patients

Miss World Kenya and Dr. Esther Njoroge with patients

Miss World Kenya playing with a baby after surgery

Miss World Kenya playing with a baby after surgery

Selfie moment with a patient from Somalia

Selfie moment with a patient from Somalia

Smile Train Africa Director admiring a baby after surgery

Smile Train Africa Director admiring a baby after surgery

Some of the patients who received free cleft lip surgery awaiting discharge

Some of the patients who received free cleft lip surgery awaiting discharge

This boy was inconsolable, until he saw himself and the beauty queen in the photo during a selfie!

This boy was inconsolable, until he saw himself and the beauty queen in the photo during a selfie!


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