Transforming Lives: Meet Pwint
7-year-old Pwint is soft-spoken and shy during our interview – happily letting her energetic and giggly little brother take centre stage. He looks to her often for reassurance as he entertains us with his antics, making sure she is also laughing at his jokes. We see what their mother means when she tells us that the siblings are very close!
Pwint smiles proudly as her mother tells us that she recently won the “Best Student Award” at her school. Shyly, Pwint adds that her favourite subject is English, and that she wants to be a teacher one day.
Seeing this happy family together, you would never know of the challenges they faced on the day Pwint was born. When doctors told the family that their daughter had been born with a cleft lip and palate, they were terrified. They had never seen a cleft before – they’d never even heard of the condition!
“How would we care for our daughter?” was the first thought that ran through her mom’s mind.
Luckily, Pwint’s uncle had heard about TF’s partner, the Northern Women’s Development Foundation.
“He told us that there was a project that could help us, that we had nothing to worry about. I felt so much better after that,” Pwints mother shares.
They learned that Pwint would need surgery, and long-term support in areas like nutrition, oral health and speech therapy to get her ready for school. Her mother says she was so scared when Pwint went into her first surgery – but TF’s partners assured her that “it will be okay!”
Even today, years later, Pwint’s mother gets emotional remembering the first time she saw her daughter after her cleft repair surgery. From the moment they met TF’s partner, they’ve had access to comprehensive support for their daughter.
Through Bright Start’s support, TF is expanding our work in Myanmar and ensuring that more children like Pwint will have access to the support they need from the day they are born until they are thriving in school.
Your monthly gift ensures that there is nothing stopping kids like Pwint from leading happy, healthy lives (and getting Top Student Awards!) – and we are grateful.
– Pwint pictured in Tachileik, Myanmar with her mother and little brother.
Meet Gift: TF Partner & Leader in Myanmar
TF’s intrepid partner, Gift, was born with a cleft herself in Myanmar. Today, she is a leader of our Myanmar project, and helps other families access the same level of care she was fortunate enough to receive.
In this two-minute interview, she shares some of the challenges she faces in her role, and what inspires her to support children born with cleft in Myanmar.
The TF Team Visits Myanmar
In March 2018, members of the Transforming Faces team visited with the Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF). We heard firsthand about how their team is overcoming the challenges they face in delivering cleft care for families from Myanmar, and how your gift is impacting the lives of children and families there.
Gift (right) and the NWDF team regularly conduct outreach programmes at local markets to ensure that communities know what cleft lip and palate is, and where they can turn to for treatment.
TF Executive Director, Hugh meets with NWDF leader, Phanomwan and Mr. Sit Khaign Tun in a town called Tachileik to discuss improving access to comprehensive cleft care for children and families in Myanmar.
NWDF helps families navigate the Thai-Myanmar border in order to receive safe, timely surgery in Northern Myanmar. Pictured above, the team meets with Border Guards who NWDF has established a working relationship with, in order to ensure patients can cross safely and smoothly into Thailand to receive care unavailable in their home country.
Members of the Transforming Faces team and the Northern Women’s Development Foundation team pose at the border crossing between Northern Thailand and Myanmar.
What’s Next In Myanmar?
Follow-Up Speech Camp: In March 2018, our partner organized a remote speech camp for 10 children & their families in Tachileik, Myanmar. This month, they conducted a follow-up camp to introduce new techniques and learn how patients were progressing (with very good results!). The next camp is scheduled for August!
Mobile Speech & Dental Care: In September, the NWDF team will run a mobile speech and dental camp in rural Myanmar, to provide cleft care for 20 patients who would not otherwise have access to services.
Family Camp: In September, our partners are hosting a family camp for 15-20 patients, to help create a support system for children born with cleft and their families.