Here's Why You Need to Care
As the team of volunteers walked through the Harare Hospital's pediatric ward, one of the mothers stopped them. Tears were flowing down her face as her little body shook with emotion.
Love Without Reason specialists, staff, and volunteers know the importance of helping each person bring a voice to their stories, consider their feelings, and provide a safe space.
Heartened by the volunteer's encouragement, she began, "Grace was born with a cleft lip seven months before, and she was perfect to me," her mother said. "My husband despised her, so he told me to stay in our home and not interact with the villagers. Everyone soon realized that something was wrong with my baby. And they all talked about her. They called me names. They said God cursed me. The weeks went by, and my baby continued to grow. But the villagers were not happy with me. They complained to the chief all the time about my daughter and me. "
Mothers experience unimaginable hurdles in impoverished countries. A baby with cleft adds the challenge of having no way to pay for travel and medical costs, where to access healthcare, how to feed their baby. Many don't know that these babies are born into communities with superstitious beliefs and misconceptions about a cleft lip-palate.
For Grace, weeks without rain and the community's dying crops meant a low harvest; everyone was in danger of starvation. "The village chief declared that our village was cursed. And it was cursed because of my baby, Grace. He made plans to murder my baby." Learning of his plans, Grace's mother courageously resolved to leave the village.
Love Without Reason partners with phone companies in Africa to reach out via SMS text messages. One of her friends showed her our SMS text that announced free cleft surgeries in Harare's capital city. The capital was a one-day bus ride from her village.
She did not know what would happen once in the city, but she knew that this was Grace's only chance. That day she found a way to escape the village. She boarded the bus to Harare and was among the first to arrive at the hospital gates early for the Sunday morning medical camp. She decided that her daughter will experience a good life.
She wept with gratitude as she expressed her joy, "I was so glad that Grace was healthy and strong enough for surgery. I just wanted to tell you all how much I thank you for saving our lives. We will go back home, and I know my family will receive us and celebrate Grace."