A Father in Disbelief

February 1, 2020 | Smile Train

When Habeeba was born, the doctor gasped and told her mother, Ahlam, he’d never seen a baby like her before. “Seeing Habeeba for the first time was very difficult because I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t understand it.”

The doctor told Ahlam Habeeba was born with a cleft lip and palate and needed to go to Cairo to find someone who knew more about the conditions.

Habeeba before her cleft lip surgery

Back at home, people lined up to congratulate the family, but Ahlam's husband, Yassin, told them Ahlam wasn’t up for receiving guests. For Ahlam, this was only part of the reason. “People aren’t used to these sorts of things in our village, so we kept her at home,” she said.

The family was soon referred to Smile Train partner Kids Hospital in Giza, where surgeon Dr. Mamdouh Aboulhassan answered every question they had about clefts and told them Habeeba could have a cleft lip surgery in a few months at no cost to them.

Dr. Aboulhassan

As promised, Habeeba’s cleft lip surgery was transformational. “I couldn’t believe she was my daughter,” said Ahlam.

Habeeba being held by her dad

After Habeeba’s stitches were removed, Ahlam and Yassin finally took her out of the house and introduced her to their community.

Habeeba kissing her dad

Habeeba returned to Kids Hospital later that year for her Smile Train-sponsored cleft palate surgery, which made it much easier for her to eat.

Habeeba crawling on her stomach, looking up with a smile.

Ahlam and Yassin are forever grateful for the people who changed their lives forever. “May God reward all Smile Train donors with goodness,” said Ahlam.

Habeeba's parents holding her and a picture of her before cleft surgery


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Images and portions of text provided by HUMAN™.