Stories

A Life-Changing Journey for Two Sisters
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When we first met Vaviroa and Nambina on our medical mission to Tamatave, Madagascar, the six- and two-year-old sisters shyly hid behind their parents and barely said a word. Years of bullying taught these young girls that the world didn’t want to see their smiles.

The girls’ parents knew that because both of their daughters were born with cleft, they would suffer deeply their entire lives — experiencing social ostracism, bullying, even physical pain — but surgery was out of the question. They had never been able to take their daughters to see a doctor, let alone afford two surgeries.

But that all changed this past fall, when Vaviroa and Nambina both received surgeries to fix their clefts — thanks to generous people like you.

As we prepare to go back to Madagascar this week, we hope you’ll take a moment to watch the inspiring video below about these brave sisters and their incredible journey.

SOCIAL STIGMA

“I just wanted to play with the other kids, but they only stared at me and laughed.”

-Marceline

Hunger
& Thirst

“We did not know how to give her milk. I was worried she would die of thirst.”

-Marceline’s Mother

Speech Inpediment

“Even if I think I know the answer, I don’t raise my hand. I don’t want to be called on.”

-Marceline

After 48 Years, A New Future

After 48 Years, A New Future

Domingos has an indomitable spirit with a physique to match: calloused hands, muscled arms and shoulders that look like they could carry the weight of the world. In a sense, they have. Domingos carried the weight of living with an untreated cleft lip for 48 years....

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Braving the World Together

Braving the World Together

Noemia and her mother, Bendita. Photo: Zeke du Plessis. Children like Noemia possess a special form of bravery. It’s a courage that can often be concealed by shyness and vulnerability. This courage endures teasing and mockery with a sense of dignity that many struggle...

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To Heal and to Comfort

To Heal and to Comfort

Editor’s Note: In August, we covered Operation Smile in Madagascar’s first-ever surgical training rotation at Centre Hospitalier de Référence Régionale in Antsirabe. Since then, we have conducted five out of the six rotations scheduled for 2017. Building on Operation...

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