Speech Pathology in Africa
This video was taken during a CLASP International Craniofacial Camp where children with cleft lip/cleft palates are referred by the plastic surgeon Dr. Goran to a three-day camp to help them recover from surgery, and /or improve their speech. Watch what some of the campers have to say.
“[Of] any child born with a disability…about 8% will be hidden, 20% killed, especially with the cleft palate…”
“The women are afraid of stigma…”
“You’ve inspired me and everyone to become a speech therapist.”
- - Wesley Urenda, born with a cleft palate.
A young girl in your third grade class that couldn’t pronounce the letter ‘r’ and thus said ‘tomorrow’ in the most endearing way. The nervous boy in high school whose stutter got worse when called upon in class; this is how most Americans become aware of Speech Language Pathology and Therapy, and it is no coincidence. In the U.S. we have the privilege of access to sophisticated healthcare system and a strong Speech Language Pathology practice, so we’re not often confronted with the dire realities of what an undiagnosed and untreated speech abnormality could mean for an infant. Some regions of the world are not so lucky. In some regions of the world, Speech Language Pathology doesn’t even exist.
It is in these developing countries where a cleft palate, a problem solved by a simple operation at birth in the U.S., becomes deadly due to the malnutrition that comes from ineffective feeding practices for infants. This is just one example. Paired with the social stigmas and cultural fear that surrounds unknown and “unexplained” physical/mental abnormalities, children like Wesley are forced to face the fate of neglect, malnutrition and death.
This is where CLASP International found our part in the equation. We want to give voice to these voiceless children. Wesley was one of the children given a chance to survive, to have surgery and over come his disability. With Speech therapy from CLASP International Wesley is able to communicate and participate in life. Nothing justifies our efforts more than seeing children like Wesley empowered “to become a speech therapist” in his home country of Zambia.
We saw an opportunity to create a difference in Africa and we took it. Now we need your help to make success stories like Wesley’s a reality for all children in need of a voice in Africa. Please join us on September 18, 6AM – Midnight for A HELPING HAND CLASP GIVING DAY, where many of your donations will be matched by some of our generous supporters.
As Wesley reminds us, “A big journey begins with one step.” Take your first step in this journey with CLASP.
Click here to give!