Our Thai project originated as a response to the need for cleft lip and palate surgery for children from tribal groups in Northern Thailand, where many families cannot afford the costs of surgery and rehabilitation. Many do not hold Thai identity cards or are migrant workers from neighbouring Laos and Myanmar and do not benefit from public health care.

The project has been managed by the Northern Women’s Development Foundation in partnership with TF since 1999. At present, the YMCA of Chiangmai and Overbrook Hospital also cooperate with the project.  

So far this year, our Thai project has provided the following care:

  • cleft care for 176 patients, including 43 new patients, the majority of whom are from Myanmar
  • 49% of the new patients are less than 1 year old
  • 24 patients received cleft repair surgery for their lips and palates
  • 66 patients received otolaryngology, 57 patients received dental treatment and 73 received speech therapy

Jackie Elton, Transforming Faces’ co-founder and Chairperson, Esteban Lasso, TF’s Executive Director, Jaime Norwood, Volunteer Fundraiser and Dr. Austin Chen, Orthodontist at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) visited the Thai cleft project on 18-22 February 2013. They observed the project, lent their expertise in the areas of fundraising, orthodontics and project activities.

Jaime Norwood, a TF volunteer spent a month with the team and helped them develop a fundraising plan. So far, the team has raised 233,953.08 Baht (approximately $7,500 CAD) through donation boxes, YMCA volunteer champions and their networks.

Here are some highlights from the past year: