Before her cleft surgery, Akhanyile didn’t smile much. And even though she’s only two, she often reached up to cover her mouth with her hand. She knew she was different. And it saddened her Gogo, who was left to care for the child after she was abandoned by her mother.

But, in the small, rural community where they live, money is tight, and resources are limited. It was impossible for Akhanyile’s Gogo to get help for her precious granddaughter.

But when she heard that Operation Smile was conducting a programme in the area, she did not waste any time to get her to the hospital in Mthatha in October 2023.

Akhanyile received world class surgery and is recovering well. Gogo is no longer hiding the child at home but allows her to play with other kids.

Akhanyile has gained confidence in herself. Young as she is, she now sees no difference between herself and other children.

Thank you to our generous volunteers and supporters, who make it possible to change the lives of children born with cleft lip or palate.

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