Both Tigist and Adane were born with cleft lip and palate. We met the family in March 2022, when ten year old Tigist was having her surgery for her cleft palate and her three year old brother Adane was having his first surgery for his cleft lip. They live in a rural area of the Amhara Region and the family work in farming for a living, they heard about Project Harar's services from health outreach stations, who contacted them in person.

They came by motorcycle and contacted us to tell us when the programme for surgery would happen, they told me to get my family ready.

 Tigist and Adane's father, Fikadu

We asked Tisist and Adane's mother, Genet, what were the main challenges she faced when raising her children:

Both of my children had cleft lip and palate, it was hard for them to take foods and also my breast. It was so hard for me to feed Tigist, she couldn't  drink the milk from my breast at all. I had to find other ways to feed her until she got to six months old  and able to start eating more solid foods. With my son Adane, even though it was hard and painful for me, he was able to take my breast eventually. Another problem our family face, is that it is hard to understand both of their speech.

We ourselves were shocked when our children were born. The first time I saw Tigist I was so hurt and sad. I couldn’t believe what I saw, I cried to my Lord, why he had to give me this kind of situation. I didn’t know anything about cleft lip and palate. People around me were also shocked. I was sad when I saw Adane too, but at least I learned from Tigist.

 Tigist and Adane's mother, Genet

We have changed the names of the families for this story, but Genet told us that she named one of her children a name that meant 'Let it be'  because she did not want to complain to her God anymore. 

The family told us that they were so thank full that both of their children were able to access Project Harar's services and free treatment. Tigest told us that when she grows up she hopes to be a doctor, at the moment she is in grade one of school.

Help Project Harar continue to provide vital services to families so they can access cleft lip and palate treatment.

As well as addressing the barriers associated with the distance and cost of families in rural areas reaching treatment, we work year round to break down stigma around cleft conditions and spread positive and accurate information in rural communities. 

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