Hope and Healing

Canada and Malawi

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Do you want to hear how it is in Canada growing up with a cleft palate?

There is a great essay in today’s Globe and Mail from a woman who grew up in Canada with a cleft palate. The author speaks of the need for the support systems from the community – medical, speech pathologists and teachers. She speaks of the pain of other children making fun of her. It is a powerful essay.

In an earlier blog I spoke of a boy I met in Malawi named Sadiq. He was a three year old boy that the Hope and Healing community worker found in a village with a cleft palate and lip. Sadiq’s story is all too common. Not able to eat properly and without support,  children like Sadiq can and will die. Even when found it often takes months on a nutrition plan to build up their strength for the needed surgery.

There are many things similar between the essay in today’s Globe and Mail and Sadiq. The impairment, need for medical intervention, reactions of neighbors and other children, the feelings of not being accepted. There are so many differences as well. Canada has so many more resources than Malawi. The essay talks about the need for more speech pathologists in Canada – which is so true. Please don’t get me wrong, I am glad I live in a country that does have these services, and they should be available. The reality in Malawi however is that  although Sidiq will get an operation, there will not even be one speech pathologist in Malawi for him. Indeed, Sadiq is lucky to have been found. Many like him still die.