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Testimonials: Before and After Smiles...

Operation Smile's volunteer medical professionals travel around the world to treat children suffering from facial deformities. Their efforts mean new smiles for thousands of children, including these former patients:

Brigid Turkana Girls The Makokha Family John Maina Ibrahim

Turkana Girls

Sisters Nameyan Kasuguru, 16, and Asinyen, 12, live near the border of Sudan as members of the Turkana tribe in a village with no electricity or running water. The girls, both born with cleft lips, covered their faces and were very shy. Neither regularly attended school because they were teased so badly by other children.

In November 2007, using money given to them by their uncle who received it from an American scholar doing research in the region, the girls traveled by themselves for four days from their village to an Operation Smile medical mission in Nakuru, Kenya. While they awaited surgery, they told a heart-wrenching story of ridicule and torment. “Before Operation Smile came to our rescue, we were beaten and treated badly,” they said. “The Turkana community treats children with clefts as outcasts. In some extreme cases they are thrown away and women are blamed for giving birth to such children.”

Since receiving surgery, they are happy and very social. Asinyen has now resumed school in class 2, and her ambition is to become a nurse so that she can help other children. Unfortunately, Nameyan is too old to return to school now. Since returning from the Operation Smile mission, people in the community come from far away to admire them.

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