June 2019 was the first official collaboration with the Wa State Women’s Federation and Mekong Hope Surgical Fund. 5 young children had successful cleft lip repairs and one girl had a cleft palate repair. 1 little boy was found to have a serious heart defect and that needs to be repaired before he can have his cleft repaired. The cleft surgeries were performed at the Red Cross Hospital in Kunming, we continue to have a wonderful working relationship with the surgeons and staff on the maxillofacial surgery ward there. The Wa Women’s Federation arranged legal documentation for the children and their parents which included National Identity documents, meaning through these surgeries the children and parents have now become legal citizens in their region!
One encouraging thing through this surgical project was seeing the tender interactions between fathers and their children. As the Women’s Federation volunteer/translator and I cared for the children with compassion and gentleness, it seemed to model it for the dads who grew in gentleness more each day.