After 34 years, Moroccan man receives surgery

At 34 years old, Abdellah has grown accustomed to the teasing and long stares. His whole life he has been treated differently because of his small cleft lip. He never knew surgery was possible until he learned about Operation Smile a few weeks before a medical mission in Morocco.

Abdellah works in a port, loading packing containers. Though he has a steady job, he has never had the means for surgery to repair his cleft lip, nor did he know a solution was available. On his way home from work one day, he saw posters announcing a medical mission in Dakhla, Morocco. He decided he would take the chance and go to the medical mission site to see what was possible.

Upon arriving at the hospital for a medical evaluation, Abdellah was shocked to see so many other people, just like himself, who were born with a cleft condition. He saw many babies and young children suffering, and for a moment thought he would not be able to receive surgery since there were so many people younger than himself desperate for help.

The next day, Abdellah carefully scanned the surgical schedule, looking for his name. To his surprise, he saw his name and was overcome with emotion. He shared that he felt relieved, happy, and not at all nervous. After his surgery, Abdellah thanked the Operation Smile team and said he hopes the team of medical volunteers can help all children with cleft conditions so that none of them will have to live with a cleft lip for as long as he did. 

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“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President