Ramvishal and his mother, Radha, were both born with a cleft lip. When Radha was an infant at age one, her parents had her unilateral cleft repaired in Central India. Radha’s precious child Ramvishal, now 10 months old, was born with a bilateral cleft lip. In each of the regions that LEAP travels, cleft deformities are often associated with religious and social stigmas; therefore, it was not surprising when we were told the villagers living in the same community as Radha and Ramvishal believe that Radha had brought a curse to them. Radha shared with our team, “The people of my village want us to leave. They believe God has cursed my family, and that is why we have the clefts.”
During evaluation, Dr. Hobar evaluated both Ramvishal and Radha. Also present was another team member and former patient, Hannah Noel Moore, who was also born with a cleft lip. This provided the perfect opportunity for Hannah to visit and share her story with this sweet family. Ramvishal was placed on the surgery schedule; furthermore, Dr. Hobar offered to do a scar revision on Radha next year, upon LEAP’s return to India. Radha was so happy to know that her scar would be much improved, simply by sharing this extraordinary time with Hannah.
Later in the week, Hannah re-connected with this sweet family again after Ramvishal’s surgery. Radha was literally crying tears of joy and was so grateful that her beautiful child had received much more than just a physical restoration. Radha knew that she and her child were not cursed, now others would know the same and they could safely live in their village again. Radha is renewed in her faith and now has greater hope for their futures.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11