Submitted by Mareen Knabb guest editor

  Nehomi c1

Nohemi is the youngest of six children, and lives in the city of Carupano, Venezuela. She is a bright, friendly girl with many friends, and a supportive family. Shortly after Nohemi was born her parents tried to get corrective surgery for her cleft palate. They were told to bring her back the next year as she was too young.

Unfortunately fate intervened as Nohemi’s mother became sick with ovarian cancer, and the family’s attention focused on her mother.  Tragically Nohemi’s mother lost her battle to cancer four years ago when she was only 40. Nohemi’s father Luinis again focused on having his daughters cleft palate repaired, and Nohemi received her first surgery two years ago at age nine.

One of the greatest difficulties for people with cleft palate is speech.  They cannot pronounce words well with vowel sounds being the hardest. Corrective surgery for a cleft palate is encouraged before 18 months. After this age children may develop habits that must be unlearned with great difficulty.

Nohemi, a slim girl with pretty brown hair, now 11, is having problems at school, not because she has trouble with the subject material, but because she cannot speak correctly.  She is being held back to the third grade only because she cannot pronounce vowel sounds.

 We all hope that the second surgery she is having today will improve her ability to speak and be understood.

The Rotaplast mission is much more than the outward appearance of a smile.

Hopefully with time and speech therapy Nohemi will have the confidence to smile.  Cleft palate surgery will improve her speech and enable her to continue school with her friends.  Rotaplast is improving her life in a way that is not so visible to the eye, but to the ear.