In Guatemala it is commonly thought that children born with cleft and palate are punishments from God. To be able to include children in our projects, we have to educate parents and family members with foundational knowledge about cleft lip and palate to free them from guilt and shame.
From the moment we find a child with cleft lip and palate, their journey to a better life begins. Due to poverty and malnutrition, our first line of care is getting the babies to a healthy and sustainable weight, in order to prepare them for surgery.
Since our inception in 2008, Tess Unlimited has helped over 2000 children safely receive their cleft lip and/or palate reparations. This feat could not have been possible without the help of our talented and highly qualified medical teams consisting of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses.
Tess Unlimited believes that communication is a basic human right which should be made achievable to all. The reality for many children born with cleft lip and/or palate develop varying levels of speech problems, warranting necessary speech therapy.
Parents and children with cleft lip and/or palate have a unique struggle as they overcome their fears and overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt. To remedy this, Tess Unlimited also provides high quality counseling services led by compassionate therapists who facilitate individual and group therapy sessions.
Dental care and orthodontics
Almost all children born with cleft lip and/or plate need extra dental care. In many cases the upper teeth are irregular or crooked, which causes the upper jaw not to fit well with the lower teeth. In addition, lack of hygiene and knowledge about oral care in poor areas play a major role in the state in which their teeth are in.
Twice a year our team travels throughout Guatemala visiting municipalities to meet children born with cleft lip and/or palate. This is a crucial part of our before and aftercare as we can keep track of their process.
Over the past decade, our reputation has grown exponentially, which has resulted in a growing patient waiting list. In hopes of solving this increasing demand of children we are building our own independent clinic dedicated to providing comprehensive services for children born with cleft lip and/or palate.
During all our surgery missions and evaluation weeks we collect as much demographic information from our patients and their parents. With this data we hope to conduct research that could help reduce the amount of babies being born with cleft lip and palate in Guatemala.