Teyib is two years old his mother travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, with the help of Project Harar for Teyib's cleft lip surgery, they are from a rural kebele (village) in the East Haraghe Zone, they had to travel for two nights to reach the hospital. The family work in agriculture, also selling their produce at the market. Teyib's family did not have the financial means for transport outside of their district, let alone hospital treatment.

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 of the group we helped reach treatment in February 2020. Luckily Teyib received treatment before school age, for many infants in rural Ethiopia this is  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. When Teyib received treatment an 18 year old man, Ahmed, was also having surgery for his cleft lip. Read his story here. 

A cleft lip and palate can be a huge stigma in rural areas of Ethiopia, some people view a cleft as a curse on the family and subsequently the family will hide their baby away. Children also experience bulling and teasing from their peers, which makes them less likely to attend school and to make friends. 

Project Harar continue to work with local faith groups, health authorities and community leaders, to help spread positive health messages around cleft lip and palate and challenging the negative perception of cleft in rural Ethiopia.