Baby Gabriel met our Peruvian partners when he was just 7 days old.That’s earlier than some babies meet their aunts and uncles, nieces or nephews or grandparents! TF’s Peruvian partner has been a staple part of Gabriel and his family’s life since almost the very beginning.
The reason: Gabriel was born with a bilateral cleft, that caused an opening on both sides of his lips.
When their son was born, Gabriel’s parents – Susana and Marco – were overwhelmed: “We were worried about how we were going to take care of him,” his mother recalls. “This was something new for both of us, we did not know where to take him or how to help our baby.”
But that’s where we came in! The clinic where Gabriel was born referred the family to our Peruvian partner, and they were put in touch with a social worker within the first week of Gabriel’s life. “When we met them, they gave us the confidence that there were treatment options.” Susana adds that meeting other parents has also really helped! “They ask how his treatment is going, how he is feeding, how things have changed.”
Gabriel lives in a district of Lima with his mom, dad and grandma. “His family lives in very difficult social conditions, but they have always faced Gabriel’s treatment with optimism!” our partner shares.
When asked how their lives had changed, Marco and Susana were full of hope: “Yes, our lives have changed, but we do not complain. Our baby has a cleft lip, but we see this as something normal and our son brings us a lot of joy.”
Even so, they have moments where they worry about their child’s future. “In school, sometimes I know children do not know better and are cruel with their words… but here at the clinic we are told that he will go to speech therapy, and if parents put in effort, their children can speak normally. We are also able to take him to a counsellor, so that his self-esteem won’t be affected by what others say.”
What’s next for Gabriel? He’s scheduled for his cleft repair surgery, and will be receiving speech therapy and counselling support as he gets older and gets ready to start school!
You can support families like these by visiting: transformingfaces.org/donate