Cleft -lip and cleft -palate is a major problem in developing countries like Bangladesh. The people with cleft -lip and cleft -palate are unable to eat or speak properly for which they have to face an isolated life filled with pain and shame for not being socially acceptable. Touching Souls International, a nonprofit organization offers free cleft-lip and cleft- palate surgeries for economically disadvantaged people of Bangladesh.
In most cases, the cause of cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown. These conditions cannot be prevented. Most scientists believe clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There appears to be a greater chance of clefting in a newborn if a sibling, parent, or relative has had the problem.
Another potential cause may be related to a medication a mother may have taken during her pregnancy. Some drugs may cause cleft lip and cleft palate. Among them: anti-seizure/anticonvulsant medications, acne medications containing Accutane, and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for treating cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis.
Cleft lip and cleft palate may also occur as a result of exposure to viruses or chemicals while the fetus is developing in the womb.
Clefts in the lip can range from a tiny notch in the upper lip to a split that extends into the nose. A cleft palate can range from a small malformation that results in minimal problems to a large separation of the palate that interferes with eating, speaking, and even breathing. Clefts are often referred to as unilateral, a split on one side, or bilateral, one split on each side. There are three primary types of clefts: Cleft lip/palate refers to the condition when both the palate and lip are cleft. About one in 1,000 babies are born with cleft lip/palate.
Since 2001 Touching Souls International provided 36 cleft lip camps in different districts of Bangladesh in each providing free cleft lip surgeries to 15 to 70 disadvantage people, saving them from the curse of not being socially acceptable, giving them a new hope to live.
There are so many of children and adult with cleft lips and palates in Bangladesh who have little to no prospect of ever being helped. They are so poor, they could never afford surgery. So they wait and they hope and they pray that someday, someone will come along and help them from their curse of having the cleft lip/cleft palate and give them the freedom to smile like a normal human being, not to be ashamed of their look.