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ABOUT USOUR BACKGROUNDROTARY

ABOUT OPERATION CLEFT AUSTRALIA


Operation Cleft is a unique Rotary project that offers free cleft repair surgery to underprivileged children in Bangladesh. Sadly, cleft repair surgery is not covered under the overburdened public health care system in Bangladesh. Consequently, thousands of children grow up with untreated cleft lip and/or palate, which ostracises them from society. They often suffer from ear, nose, and throat infections, depression, and malnutrition.

By surgically repairing the cleft lip and/or palate of these children, we provide them with the opportunity to lead a normal life, obtain an education, build a social network, and reach their full potential as productive members of their community. The cost of each operation is just $AUD350.


Operation Cleft also supports the development of speech and language therapy, a relatively new service in Bangladesh, mainly limited to Dhaka. Our focus is on making speech therapy more accessible and promoting it as a post-operative program to achieve optimal outcomes, especially in young children after cleft palate repair.

Over the last three years, we have been working with community health workers, who offer basic advice to families on improving their child’s speech post-surgery.

Ideally, we like to operate on children when they are young and have not yet developed the nasal speech patterns that require correction. However, children with cleft palates are prone to infection, making it impossible to operate on them when they are first present for surgery. Instead, we must wait until they are healthy enough to tolerate the anesthetic.

We are proud of the work we have accomplished and the lives we have changed. Thank you for your continued support of Operation Cleft.


OUR BACKGROUND

INITIATED IN SEPTEMBER 2005 BY ROTARY CLUB OF BOX HILL CENTRAL & COLIN MACFARLANE
STARTED WITH 60 OPERATIONS AT LAMB HOSPITAL PARBATIPUR, BANGLADESH
PARTNERED WITH GLENCOE FOUNDATION FOR PILOT OPERATIONS
OPERATION CLEFT BECAME FULLY RESPONSIBLE OF FOUNDATION IN 2008
FREE CLEFT LIP PALATE REPAIR SURGERY FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED BANGLADESH CHILDREN

FOR MORE INFORMATION

ROTARY

In 2005, the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central agreed to fund a pilot program of 60 cleft repair operations at the LAMB project in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Impressed by the simplicity and success of the initial trial, the club then decided to launch Operation Cleft as an international Rotary project. Word spread about this unique surgical intervention program and as other Rotary clubs heard about the work we were doing for underprivileged children in Bangladesh, they offered their support. Operation Cleft is now strongly supported by Rotary clubs across Australia.

Rotary Clubs have a commitment to International Service – Supporting Operation Cleft is a great way for clubs to honour that commitment no matter how small the club. Why not make Operation Cleft your international project. Any contribution, no matter how small, will make a huge impact on the life of an underprivileged child in Bangladesh.

If you would like to book an Operation Cleft speaker to tell your members more about this unique international project, please send us an email from the contacts page, or alternatively check for your local representative on the Ambassador section of Who’s Who.

Rotary is a worldwide organisation of business, professional and community leaders. Clubs are non-political, non-religious, and open to all. Richly rewarding, Rotary is not only a great opportunity for socialising and networking but it gives you the opportunity to give something back to the community both locally and internationally.

While developing business networking opportunities and building lifelong friendships, Rotarians experience personal growth in an organisation that is respected worldwide for its high values and standards.

Operation Cleft is an international project of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central, District 9810 Australia

Operation Cleft is recognised as a Rotary Australia World Community Services partner. RAWCS as a registered OAGDS (Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme) is the partner through which we transfer project funds to Bangladesh.

We have an office at The Glencoe Foundation Bangladesh from where the in-country administration of the project is co-ordinated.

The NGO Affairs Bureau is the Government body in Bangladesh responsible for monitoring and auditing not for profit organisations. Operation Cleft is approved by the NGO Affairs Bureau.

Guiding Principles of Rotary

OUR STORY

EVERY FACE TELLS A STORY




A simple solution to a serious problem

Operation Cleft Australia is committed to improving the lives of underprivileged children in Bangladesh, by providing free cleft lip and palate repair surgery to those born with this condition.

Many young families in Bangladesh live on or below the poverty line – less than US$2 a day. They lead simple, village lives, where everything revolves around the extended family group. More than 5,000 babies are born with cleft lip and/or palate conditions each year in Bangladesh. These babies are often sickly and malnourished due to feeding problems.

If these cleft conditions are left untreated, these children will suffer both physically and emotionally, and they face a life of torment, poor health, isolation, and illiteracy. Frequently both children and their families are ostracised by their communities, and many family units break down due to the stress and peer pressure.

Sadly 12% of babies born with clefts and whose clefts are not repaired die before the age of five.

Since 2005, Operation Cleft Australia, an international humanitarian project of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central, Victoria, has provided around 1500 free cleft repair surgeries annually to the underprivileged in Bangladesh. Our objective in going forward with this program is to:

  • Increase the number of surgeries we can provide annually
  • Increase the number of surgeons operating for us
  • Broaden the geographical spread of surgical camps across Bangladesh
  • Assist in the development of newly established plastic surgery units in provincial cities
  • Encourage sustainability
  • Encourage the development of plastic surgery training programs across Bangladesh

With each cleft repair operation conducted in surgical camps throughout Bangladesh by top Bangladeshi plastic surgeons,
a child and his or her family now have the opportunity to lead a normal life, and the child has an opportunity to receive an education, build a social network and to reach his or her full potential as a contributing member of their community.

Operation Cleft Australia’s mission is to continue to provide these free, life-altering surgeries to those in Bangladesh most in need.


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