It is true what they say; it’s never too late to start a new life. 45-year-old Jennifer says she lived a life of hardship and sadness until good fortune led her to Smile Train partner CoRSU Hospital in Katakwi, Uganda. It was a new smile a lifetime in the making.
Jennifer was the youngest of seven children and the only sibling born with a cleft lip and palate. Jennifer recalls her father trying to protect her from bullies growing up, but he did not always succeed, so she spent most of her time isolated at home. To make things worse, the family’s livestock was stolen and they were left destitute.
As much as her father wanted to provide his youngest daughter with a smile, he did not have enough money to take her to the hospital when she was young. Jennifer had been referred to the regional hospital to repair her lip, but they could not afford the transportation to get there.
When Jennifer reached her 45th birthday, she was unmarried with no children. Her father had discouraged Jennifer from getting married because he felt she would be mistreated. All of her siblings were married and had moved away while Jennifer still lived at home. After Jennifer’s parents passed away, she was left to live all alone in their small house.
Her life changed the day a CoRSU representative found Jennifer and brought her to CoRSU hospital for her free Smile Train cleft surgery. Five months after her surgery, Jennifer’s self-esteem has improved greatly. For those who saw her before surgery, it is difficult for them to believe she is the same woman. Now she can eat well, is no longer ridiculed, and says she is ready to make the most of the second half of her life.