Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bright Start?

Bright Start is a monthly giving program that supports children born with a cleft lip and palate in Myanmar. 100% of your contribution goes directly toward ensuring that children and families receive comprehensive cleft care from the day they are born until their first year of school.

Your gift of $35 / month will go directly towards completing the circle of cleft care for children in Myanmar.

What are the benefits of joining Bright Start as a monthly donor?

In championing our brand new Bright Start initiative, you will receive:

  • A Bright Start welcome package, further connecting you to the families you support
  • Special updates, stories and photos from the field
  • Progress reports three times per year about how lives are being changed, as children journey toward full rehabilitation from their cleft
  • Monthly donations also helps TF keep our administrative costs low

What kind of care for children will Bright Start provide?

Your donation will fund a complete circle of care for children from the day they are born, until they are ready to start school! This can include:

  • 0 – 2 Years:
    • Initial cleft lip and palate repair surgeries
    • Nutritional support, especially for newborns who are unable to breastfeed
    • Transportation assistance for families living in remote, rural areas
    • Psychosocial support for family members
2 – 5 Years:

  • Hearing assessments
  • Oral health and dental care
  • Regular speech therapy to equip the child to fully participate in the community
  • Support from a social worker in preparation for the transition to school

Why is your focus on children between the ages of 0 – 5?

Bright Start ensures that children have access to the best possible care from the day they are born until they complete their first year at school. Comprehensive care that starts from birth gives children the chance to fully overcome the limitations of cleft lip and palate. Our goal is to ensure that every child born with cleft has a bright future!

With access to early, comprehensive and long-term care, cleft is a completely treatable condition. Bright Start ensures that these children will thrive at home, in the community, and – when it’s time – at school!

What happens to these children once they turn 6 years old? Will these children still be supported by TF programs?

TF is committed to providing long-term, holistic care that supports children throughout their treatment journey (which can last up to 20 years!). While Bright Start’s focus is on supporting children in the critical early stages of life, TF’s partners will continue to work with these children for years to come, ensuring they receive:

  • Continued support to thrive in school and the community
  • Ongoing speech therapy
  • Ongoing dental and orthodontic care
  • Counselling and social support
  • Additional surgeries if required

Why focus on Myanmar?

Myanmar is TF’s newest partner country. Many patients and families in Myanmar currently have nowhere to turn for support. Accurate information about cleft is lacking, and families face stigma in the community. Cleft care specialists are few and far between, and poor infrastructure makes it costly to travel from remote villages to reach scarce health centres. In addition, safety concerns and periodic natural disasters can make travel to appointments risky to pursue. As a result, children born with cleft in Myanmar are often excluded from their school and community, because of their facial differences and struggles in nutrition, hearing, and communicating clearly.

I’ve seen Myanmar in the news a lot lately. How is the situation unfolding there affecting TF’s programs?

TF continues to closely monitor the heart-breaking upheaval in Myanmar. Bright Start is focused upon the Talicheik region of Myanmar– in the eastern part of the country, near the northern Thai border. Rakhine State, the epicentre of the current crisis, is located over 20 hours west of Tachileik, in the west of the country, close to the Bangladeshi border. Events in Rakhine State are not currently affecting TF programs nor participants in our comprehensive cleft care programs.