Oct 11, 2017

Why we must follow up


Patient stories


Keila is a nine-year-old who attended our rural mission day a couple of months ago at the National Hospital in La Tinta.

Born with a cleft lip and palate, Keila was three when her mother took her to a hospital at Retalhuleu to repair her cleft lip. Unfortunately, there was no follow up and no organization to help her receive corrective surgery for her cleft palate.

Two years ago, teeth started to grow and come out through her upper lip, for which she received ridicule from other children, forcing her to use a cloth to cover her face in public.

We have already scheduled Keila to have both maxillofacial and cleft palate surgery by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia team coming to Guatemala this month. As part of our support, she will be escorted to and from the hospital site and provided with post-operative assistance.

Keila wants to go back to school without feeling embarrassed and eventually become a teacher. Through our assistance we will be helping to make her dreams come true.


Yesenia is a girl from Totonicapan who was part of our nutritional program. Three years ago, we did her lip and palate surgeries, but she still has a small opening in her palate that will be corrected this month.

Thanks to her timely initial surgeries and our speech therapy, Yesenia can speak very well. Our health promoter, Migdalia, who visited her every month for 2 years, told us "I feel like she is one of my own, I love her and love seeing her happy and healthy".

Thanks to our donors, friends, partners and incredible volunteers like Migdalia, "happy and healthy" are two words that we are able to put together for many of our patients.

Upcoming surgical missions

On October 31 and November 7, 2017, our Guatemalan based counterpart, Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía, will be evaluating patients at no cost in Antigua Guatemala for the next surgical rounds. 

Previous missions

Between June 1st and August 31, 2017, the Faces of Hope team was able to perform 32 cleft lip and 17 cleft palate surgeries, among other procedures.

Our cleft infant nutrition program

Between June 1st and August 31, 2017, we had 218 children enrolled in our cleft infant nutrition program. This program helps children gain weight and strength prior to surgery.

To help our nutrition program, we also created an amazon wish list with a much-needed item: manual breast pumps. These pumps help children born with a cleft lip and palate receive all the nutrition they need without having to resort to formula, which can cost as much as $600 per child. Paired with feeding bottles, breast pumps provide a cost-effective option prior to surgery.

We have received several breast pumps already, which are being taken in person to Guatemala and reaching the mothers in need.

Thank you 

We feel absolutely honored and privileged to continue to receive so much support for our work. As we look at the struggles taking place in so many regions at the same time, we are grateful for the opportunity to be part of a team that is able to help so many in need in rural Guatemala.

We wish you health and happiness.

Yesenia and Migdalia
Yesenia and Migdalia


Oct 4, 2017

Our July-August medical mission

Health promoters, volunteers and Zoila
Health promoters, volunteers and Zoila's family

During Partner for Surgery’s last rural triage mission, which took place between July and August, the team embarked on a home visit to Zoila and her children. The youngest, Angel, in his mother’s arms, was born with a cleft lip and palate. He is recovering nicely from lip surgery and we are planning to do his palate in October. Meanwhile, he is in our nutrition program and Marta, our health promoter, is responsible for visiting the family each month. 

Zoila has been struggling to support her home without the help of the children’s father. The six of them sleep in one small room with just one bed.

Raul, Zoila’s father, was able to give his daughter a little piece of land with a few avocado trees and bread fruit, where they also grow corn and beans to eat. Zoila has been cleaning houses and doing laundry for $10 a week, when she can find work.

A lovely return

Our rural mission was also happily greeted by a returning patient, Felisa, who came to us in 2016 with a hernia.

Since her surgery, Felisa has been feeling great and is able to work again.

“I would be dead by now if it wasn’t for you. You helped me immediately. You covered my personal expenses and gave me the surgery I needed. I had the hernia for 15 years and did not find the help I needed. At the local hospital they used to tell me that I was old and not worth helping, but you did. I thank you and everybody who came across to make it possible.”

We feel honored to have helped Felisa overcome her hernia.

Wish list

In September we launched our first amazon wish list. This list, updated as needed, gives donors a more tactile option to help families in Guatemala, by showing exactly what the donation will be used for.

We launched the list with the most needed item, manual breast pumps. These pumps help children born with a cleft lip and palate receive all the nutrition they needed without having to resort to formula, which can cost as much as $600 per child. Paired with feeding bottles, breast pumps provide a cost-effective option prior to surgery.

Visiting Canada

Our director of operations, Ariel, is visiting Vancouver and Victoria, in Canada, meeting with hospitals and surgical team representatives about recruiting more volunteers for our upcoming missions.

Our progress in numbers

Between June 1st and August 31, 2017, we:

  • evaluated 811 patients
  • identified 223 surgical candidates
  • performed 137 surgeries
  • screened 784 women for cervical cancer
  • treated 12 women for our cervical cancer prevention program
  • screened 124 women for breast cancer
Felisa and Marta, our health promoter
Felisa and Marta, our health promoter


Jul 12, 2017

Our Cleft Infant Nutrition Program

Astrid, before and after
Astrid, before and after
Partner for Surgery helps provide medical care to many children and their families, but there is one particular program that we are very proud of: Cleft Infant Nutrition Program.
Through this unique program, we accomplish three major goal by preventing:
  1. Malnutrition, so the child will thrive and qualify for surgery;
  2. Speech impediment, by providing cleft palate surgery before the child reaches the age of one and a half;
  3. Ostracization with the community of family and child.
With around 165 children enrolled in the program at any given time, it is vital that Partner for Surgery continues to raise funds to provide all the care needed for these children. A single month of life saving nutrition to one cleft infant costs $35 in Guatemala.
Our impact in Guatemala has become quite noticeable. In the past, almost all the infants with clefts were first seen at our rural medical missions. Now, over 85% are referrals from government medical personnel and community midwives, which means the infants remain in better health and can qualify for surgery earlier than before.
During the Workshop in Congenital Malformations led by the George Washington University/Milken Institute of Public Health, and held at the Universidad Rafael Landívar  on June 2016 in Guatemala, many presentations indicated that inadequate micronutrients in the diet of newly pregnant mothers is an important factor in formation of cleft defects. Now we are studying the possibility of adding a fourth prevention element: education. This effort would focus on educating children in school on how better food preparation and nutrition can reduce cleft anomalies.
In the next few days, Faces of Hope will join us in Guatemala to help provide surgery to dozens of cleft patients who are ready to leave the nutrition program and move to the next step of their life changing journey.
Elda, before and after
Elda, before and after
Orlando, before and after
Orlando, before and after
Playtime after surgery
Playtime after surgery
ACPC, our Guatemalan counterpart
ACPC, our Guatemalan counterpart


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