The Children

Facial deformities result in many challenging medical issues, including feeding problems, hearing loss, unintelligible speech and recurrent ear infections. But the social and psychological consequences that result are just as devastating.

The stigma of looking and sounding different leads to a very difficult and lonely life. Often, peers, communities and even relatives shun lovable and loving children, ashamed of their appearance and speech and powerless to affect positive change. Some are hidden away in locked rooms, deprived of education, medical care and any socialization with the outside world.

These children can be helped. With adequate funding, they can receive the treatment and care they need to eat, speak and look more like other members of society, enabling them to lead normal, happy, and productive lives.

Success Story: Dunia Sibomana

Dunia is a young boy who lives in The Republic of the Congo.  He was attacked by a chimpanzee and though he miraculously survived, his face was left extremely disfigured.  He lost both his upper and lower lips and has extensive scarring along the right side of his face.  This has left him with oral incompetence (inability to close his mouth) making it extremely difficult for him to eat or drink.  At present he is seriously malnourished, weighing only 42 pounds.

He was found by local rangers and referred to Smile Rescue Fund for Kids for help. 

After a series of ground-breaking reconstructive surgeries at Stony Brook Medical, Dunia went on to become a state-wide wrestling champion.

Jane Robi – Birthday: January 4th, 2006 – 7 years old – Nyamagongwi Village
Jane Robi is the first born of four children. She was born with an abnormal, pulsating growth superior to her nose, in between her eyes. The growth is currently the size of a golf ball, however, it has grown over the years with respect to her age. Due to the high expenses and lack of adequate medical care in her village, Jane has not been able to receive a proper evaluation of the growth. Jane’s father, a polygamist, currently neglects Jane and her mother due to the growth, leaving them with no source of income. Fortunately, Jane is currently a student in class 2 attending Nyamagongwi Primary School. They would be eternally grateful for any form of medical assistance to evaluate and diagnose the growth.

Chausiku Nyamonga Chacha – Birthday: February 8th, 1997 – 16 years old – Koromangucha Area
Chausiku Nyamonga Chacha was born with a semi-protruding lip, with inflammation on the right side of her face which affects her eye, right-cheek, and tongue. This inflammation affects Chausiku’s ability to properly eat, drink, or smile. Chausiku’s grandmother states the inflammation is irritable, causing Chausiku to having an “itching” sensation. In May, Chausiku went to a level 5 district hospital, however doctors have not been able to properly diagnose the abnormality. Chausiku and her family have faced many hardships in their lives. Chausiku’s father was allegedly poisoned in May, leaving the family with no stable source of income. Due to close proximity of their house to the trans-Mara region, clashes often occur between the Maasai community and the Kuria community, in which as a consequence, led to the untimely death of Chausiku’s grandfather. Despite the challenges, the family continues to persevere, and they are currently looking for any financial or medical assistance.

Success Story: Saline Atieno

Saline is a young girl who lives in the Nyanza Province of Kenya. She was the third child born to her parents, but due to one sibling’s recent death, there are only two remaining. At the age of 3, she began suffering from an ‘unknown disease’. Her parents sought medical care from local dispensaries and later at a district hospital, but due to financial constraints (both parents are peasant farmers) they were unable to pay for treatment.

She was diagnosed with Noma, derived from the Greek “nomein” meaning “to devour”. It is a devastating bacterial necrosis that develops in the mouth and ravages the faces of its victims. It destroys both the soft and bone tissues of the face and mostly affects young children between the ages of two and six. Often called “the face of poverty, poor hygiene and malnutrition have been linked to this disease and the fatality rate is 90%. Saline has difficulty eating and is prone to further infection, however it is the social ramifications that are the most damaging.

One of Smile Train’s regional directors contacted Leon about support for Saline after meeting her on a recent trip. Saline’s parents heard of a Smile Train visit and went to the local hospital hoping that the cost of Saline’s surgery would be covered. Unfortunately, her condition was too severe to be funded by any of the world-known charities.

The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids sprung into action, working it out for Saline to come to New York and have her surgeries conducted by Dr. Alexander Degum, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Stony Brook Hospital on Long Island in New York. With his help, along with many generous volunteers and donors in the area, Saline had all the surgeries she needed and is back at home.

With the financial support of donations from the Smile Rescue Fund for Kids, Saline graduated from Beauty School and is now self-sufficient working and living in Nairobi.