The Best Christmas Present – A Promise from Taiwan


“Love Makes Whole - 2017 International Cleft Mission in Cambodia” was co-operated by Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation and Kaohsiung Chang Gang Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lai Ruibin, director of the Children's Plastic Surgery Center in Kaohsiung Chang Gang Memorial Hospital, was the head leader of this Mission. Along wiith other 10 medical practitioners, they are Dr. Lin Xiu Xiong who is the director of the Orthodontics Department in Kaohsiung Chang Gang Memorial Hospital, Dr. Cai Jiyuan (an orthodontist), Dr. Wu Zhengjun (a surgeon), Dr. Lin Keqian (a surgeon), Dr. Gilberto (a Mexican surgeon), Li Huijun (an anesthesiologist), Ms She Shewei (a nurse), Ms Yao Mei sound (a nurse), Ms Shen Shenwen (a scrub nurse) and Ms Pan Si Ru (a scrub nurse). Ms Rebecca Wang, director of Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, is in part of the team also. The Mission was taken place at the Phnom Penh National Children's Hospital in Cambodia which lasts for 6 days from 17th December to 22nd December, 2017. 17 free surgeries were offered to poor patients with cleft lip and palate, aged from 5 months to 25 years old to help them find a brilliant smile!

With insufficient medical information, relatives of patients are worried about being "infected" with cleft lip and cleft palate

Sorn Maneth, a 5-month-old baby, is the youngest patient of this Mission. Sorn Maneth’s family live in a countryside about an hour and half driving distance from Phnom Penh. Both of his parents working as garment factory labors. When Sorn Maneth was born, his parents were very sad as seeing his cleft. His family didn’t know what to do. Some relatives even refused to touch Soman, worrying they would be infected with “cleft disease” and give birth to scary babies also.

Due to inadequate medical information on cleft lip and palate in Cambodia, Soman’s mom did not know how to take care of Soman and where to look for help. Fortunately, with the advice of local health office, Soman’s mom went to the Phnom Penh National Children's Hospital for assistance and soon was appointed to the screen clinic of this Mission. Soman recovered very well after the free surgery. Soman’s aunty, who is his main caregiver is very happy with the result. She is very thankful that Soman won’t need to face others’ peculiar looks any more and be able to live a happy and healthy life as a normal baby. 


Sorn Maneth's before (the left) and after(the right) surgery photos

Old patient becomes dental assistant

Um Chan Heng, a patient who received a free surgery by Dr. Lai Ruibin in the Love Makes Whole International Cleft Mission 17 years ago. Since then, Um Chan Heng has been regularly followed up by the NCF. Over these years, Um Chan Heng has undergone several surgeries, including lip repair, jaw repair, bone graft surgery, pharyngeal surgery and orthognathic surgery and now is a grown up beautiful young lady. Um Chan Heng is currently between jobs. She will use her spare time to assist at Dr.Sythan’s dental clinic. Dr. Sythan is a NCF seed doctor. Um Chan Heng’s presence at the clinic could be a great encouragement  to other cleft patients. In this Mission, Um Chan Heng came to visit the team and gave a hand-made Cambodian painting as present to express her thankfulness to the 17 years follow-ups and treatments of the NCF and the Mission team.  The Mission not only fixes the flaws in her face, but also helps her build up confidence and dreams. Um Chan Heng’s future is full of happiness and hope.

Um Chan Heng is a real witness of the concept of NCF International Program, "Sewing - the International Cleft Mission", "Watering - Seed Medical Practitioners’ Training" and "Growing - Local Craniofacial Center/ Foundation Establishment ." By doing that, overseas patients are able to receive holistic cleft treatment as patients in Taiwan do. The NCF has been cooperating with local Cambodian team for more than a decade. The local team now becomes a core cleft treatment base in Cambodia. At least 250 cleft patients have been treated by the local team each year.

Um Chan Heng (the left) gave a hand-made Cambodian painting as present to express her thankfulness to Dr. Lai Ruibin (the right) 

Established by an American missionary Dr. Samuel Noordhoff in 1989, the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation (NCF) is a non-profit humanitarian organization. Based on the belief of “Love Makes Whole”, the NCF dedicates to helping people who have congenital craniofacial deformities, mainly with cleft lips, cleft palates, or both to receive holistic treatments, including mind, body and soul care. Love Makes Whole International Cleft Mission began in 1998, has been on 78 missions in 9 countries and offered 1846 free surgeries. Meanwhile, the NCF has been training 156 Seed Medical Practitioners with 19 nationalities. Craniofacial Medical Teams or Centers have been established by the NCF local team in countries like  Philippines, Cambodia, China Qingdao and Xi'an. The holistic cleft treatment concept has been promoting in different parts around the world.

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