ABOUT OPERATION CLEFT
Operation Cleft is a unique Rotary project that provides free cleft repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. Because cleft repair surgery is not covered under Bangladesh’s overburdened public health care system, thousands of children grow to adulthood with this condition untreated.
Because of the way they look, these children are ostracised by society. Many suffer from ear, nose and throat infections as well as depression and malnutrition.
By surgically repairing their cleft lip and/or palate, we are providing them with an opportunity to lead a normal life, to get an education, to build a social network and to reach their full potential as contributing members of their community. And the cost of each operation – just $AUD300.
Operation Cleft also supports the development of speech and language therapy. The service is relatively new to Bangladesh and is limited mainly to Dhaka. Our focus is on making speech therapy more accessible and to promoting it as a post operative program to achieve best outcomes, particularly in young children after a cleft palate repair.
We have been working with the community health workers over the last three years. These workers go out into the community and are able to provide basic advice to families on how to improve their child’s speech.
Of course, ideally we like to operate on children who are under the age of two, as they have not yet developed the nasal speech patterns that require correction. However, because children with cleft palates, in particular, are prone to infection, it is not always possible to operate on little children. We have to wait until they are well enough to tolerate the anaesthetic.
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.