Since 2001 Project Harar has worked in the poorest and most remote areas of Ethiopia to provide access to treatment for young patients with cleft lip and palate. Over the last 21 years we have treated 9,748 children, helping to transform the lives of not only them but also their families. The effects of Covid-19, combined with civil conflicts across Ethiopia, have created an increasingly challenging environment to provide treatment. For a while elective surgeries were put on hold but we are once again able to deliver programmes. There are more infants and young children than ever who are waiting for their smile journey to begin. With your support our upcoming programmes hope to treat over 300 children who are currently waiting for access to surgery. We are therefore calling for your generosity and kindness and asking for donations to our urgent appeal, which will provide life changing treatment to 50 children.

Children who live in remote areas of Ethiopia already experience food insecurities due to environmental, social and economic factors, these difficulties are heightened for those with cleft lip and palate and these children can become dangerously undernourished. Babies are often unable to suckle and may be prone to choking, making breastfeeding a near impossible task. Without corrective surgery, not only will these children face malnourishment, they often go on to struggle with  further developmental barriers, such as speech and hearing difficulties. 

Our cleft programme is delivered in Ethiopia by an Ethiopian Programme team who are experts in their field. In rural Ethiopia, children with cleft lip and palate are often hidden away by their families, unable to go to school or have friends. There is a lack of awareness that a cleft condition is treatable. Project Harar strives to break social stigma, working with community leaders and local health clinics to provide information and access to treatment for cleft lip and palate. 

The remoteness of rural areas of Ethiopia combined with poverty make it impossible for a patient in need of treatment to travel to the city, which is the only place they will be able to receive the surgery required. Project Harar makes the arrangements, provides food, transport and accommodation for patients and their guardians, the journey can often take over 2 days. Our programme officers will care for them along their smile journey from identification to follow up.

Receiving access to cleft treatment will significantly improve an infant or child’s life prospects, meaning they can eat, speak, smile and go to school. Please consider supporting Project Harar in our urgent appeal. A donation of £150 will significantly change a child’s life prospects, enabling them to eat, speak, smile and grow into adulthood without stigma from others. We are grateful for any amount you are able to give at this time.

Photograph of families waiting for treatment, at our cleft programme in the Amhara Region, April 2022

🌍 Outreach

Your donation will support our year round outreach efforts from our experienced programme team. Our extensive outreach network reaches the most remote and rural areas of Ethiopia, allowing our team to identify infants born with cleft lip and palate and raise vital awareness at a local and regional level.

🚌 Access

Your donation will help address barriers to families in rural areas accessing vital treatment for cleft lip and palate.

There are many barriers to children accessing cleft care in rural areas but one of the main issues is geographical distance from facilities that provide surgery. Our programme team provide transport, accommodation, PPE and food for children and their guardians. 

🍃 Nutrition

Your donation will also help provide vital nutritional support to infants and children who do not meet the required health/weight requirements to receive safe cleft surgery.

Nutritional support includes targeted food packages containing produce such as fortified milk powder and enriched peanut butter, which will help children with healthy weight gain. Our programme team continue give advice around nutrition to local health workers and families who have children impacted by cleft.