Smiles Come in Three

October 16, 2017 | Smile Train

Siti Khotimah was visibly shaken when she learned that her first child, Levi, had been born with a cleft, as she was well aware of the many challenges her husband faced during his childhood due to his cleft. Siti recalled, “I was sad and worried, but I had faith that we’d find a way to provide Levi with a cleft surgery and happy life.”

Smile Train Indonesia

Siti’s faith was rewarded when a neighbor referred the family to local Smile Train Partner Hospital YPPCBL. To his parents’ relief, Levi received his 100%-free Smile Train sponsored cleft surgery by the time he was only four months old.

Indonesia cleft lip

Siti, looking to the future, was stunned when both her second child and her third (Wanqsa and Nazwa respectively) were also born with clefts. Siti explained that, with each cleft birth, the gossip grew and the family became more and more isolated. “The judgment was unbearable. Everyone assumed that I must have done something very bad — even my mother-in-law accused me of being cursed. You would think that she would be more understanding since her own son was born with a cleft.”

Cleft Speech Therapy

Siti’s feelings of loneliness only increased when she found out that her husband had married another woman without telling her. She was devastated; when she confronted him about it, her husband left the family. During this time, Siti had to move in with her parents and found a job at a mobile phone accessory store, earning the equivalent of just $150 per month to support her children.

Cleft Speech Therapy

Despite the family turmoil and financial troubles, Wanqsa and Nazwa went on to have their own free Smile Train sponsored cleft surgeries at YPPCBL, just like their older brother. All three children are now excelling in school and are enrolled in Smile Train sponsored speech therapy at YPPCBL. Siti commented, “Though our family may have its struggles, Smile Train and YPPCBL have given us all a chance to live a happy life.”


If you would like to help us provide new smiles and second chances at life to someone just like Siti, please make a gift today.