Our Story

Partnering Locally for Comprehensive Cleft Care Since 1999.

Co-Founder Jackie Elton stood beside a mother and her child

Transforming Faces:
A Patient’s Perspective

TF was co-founded in 1999 by a UK business leader named Jackie Elton, and a Scottish-Canadian International Development administrator named Jo Jamieson. Jackie was born with cleft lip and palate, while Jo spent the majority of her career in India, where the two first became friends.

TF’s genesis was sparked by a TV documentary about the limitations faced by Sri Lankan families without access to adequate cleft treatment. Deeply moved, Jackie described the eventual founding of Transforming Faces in Toronto as something that felt like it was “just meant to be”.

Our Roots in Comprehensive Cleft Care

From the start, TF chose to pursue an alternative to the “mission model” of recruiting foreign volunteers to treat patients overseas. Jackie’s personal rehabilitative journey also prepared us to expand our focus beyond the narrow scope of simply supporting surgeries.

Inspired by the skill and commitment of local professionals from a range of specialties, TF became the first international NGO to embrace “Comprehensive Cleft Care” (CCC).

From a single project with Lokmanya Tilak Hospital in India in 1999, our network has grown to over 25 local partners spread over four continents.

A group of smiling children gathered together
Group of medical professionals and NGO staff posing together

Transforming Faces Today

We believe that every family affected by cleft should have access to a trusted local health team. We’re proud to support the pioneering work of our partners toward seeing children experience full rehabilitation and community inclusion.

Transforming Faces’ Story

In our first episode of the Caring for Cleft podcast, we discussed how Transforming Faces began, reflected on the last 20 years and what principles we’ve held since the beginning.

Listen to Episode 1

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