Teyib Before and After his cleft surgery 


Teyib is two years old, he is the youngest of eight children. Teyib's mother travelled to Addis with Project Harar for Teyib's treatment, they are from a rural kebele (village) in the East Haraghe Zone, Teyib's mother told us they had to travel for two nights to reach the hospital. They are a farming family, also selling their produce at the market. Teyib's family did not have the financial means for transport outside of their Woreda (district) let alone hospital treatment, Teyib's mother told us: 

His smile was split open, I was always worrying about who would treat him, now it’s sorted. I am happy. In terms of the future, when school time comes I will enrol him in the kindergarden class.

At two years old, Teyib was one of the youngest patients on this particular cleft mission. Luckily Teyib received treatment before school age, for many infants in rural Ethiopia this is sadly not the case. Because of geographical or financial constraints many children will not be able to access treatment for their cleft until they are midway through childhood, on the same cleft mission an 18 year old man, Ahmed also had surgery for his cleft lip. You can read Ahmed's story here. 

A cleft can still be a huge stigma in rural areas of Ethiopia, some people view a cleft as a divine curse on the family and subsequently the family will hide the child away and not let them attend school. Sometimes if the child attends school they are so badly bullied by others they are forced to drop out. 

Because Teyib had access to surgery for his cleft he will be able to attend school and will not face bullying or isolation because of a cleft. Project Harar has year round Outreach work in remote and rural communities in Ethiopia, Programme Officers train local health extension workers to spread positivity and accurate health messaging to families who's children have been born with a cleft lip and palate. Project Harar Programme Officers also work with religious leaders on spreading health messages and challenging the negative perception of cleft in rural Ethiopia.