STOP Clefts Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda — Smile Train’s STOP Clefts initiative recently concluded it’s first phase of activities in Rwanda. STOP Clefts is a program to jump start potential new local partner hospitals in countries and regions that do not have a local team already using established Smile Train partners in bordering countries/regions.

Euginie and Patience after Patience's free Smile Train cleft surgery

The team provided 146 free cleft surgeries.

In conjunction with the University Teaching Hospital and the Ministry of Health’s public health specialist Dr. Bonaventure Nzeyima, one of Smile Train’s partners in Kenya, Help a Child Face Tomorrow provided training to local doctors and 146 free cleft surgeries.

Deeply religious, when Euginie and her husband’s baby girl was born with a cleft lip, they named her Patience — believing that patience in their faith would make her whole. Their strength and fortitude was rewarded as 6-month-old Patience received free cleft lip surgery at University Teaching Hospital.

Smile Train patient Sitefano Niyibizi before free cleft lip surgery

While Patience was spared a life of ridicule and torment, Sitefano Niyibizi endured for 60 years before he could get his cleft lip repaired. He lost hope long ago since he never had the money to travel to the city and see a doctor. When he learned about the university’s bus collecting patients in his village, Sitefano dropped everything and hopped on board.. After his cleft surgery, he told the team “If I die today, I will die happy. Thank you for this gift.”

Check out more pictures at our STOP Clefts Rwanda facebook gallery.

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