Day 15
15 minutes of speech therapy for a child with a cleft pallet in India

Speaking as a key to education

Speech therapy for children with a cleft lip and palate in India

Many children in India who are born with a cleft lip and palate are hidden away by their parents out of shame and fear of exclusion. Ibrahim is 5 years old and also suffers from this malformation. He lives with his family in a slum in Hasan Nagar, south of Hyderabad. He is teased and excluded by other children because he cannot speak properly because of his cleft lip. Many children with cleft lip and palate therefore do not go to school. Ibrahim's cleft lip has now been closed at the treatment centre in Hyderabad. This is the first step: the obvious disfigurement has been repaired. In order for Ibrahim to be able to speak correctly, an accompanying speech therapy is important. Through special exercises he learns to articulate himself comprehensibly and has a good chance of a carefree life among his friends and school mates.


Speech therapy for children with a cleft lip and palate in India.


Local speech therapists treat children in India as an additional treatment to a successful surgery.

Countable effort

Number of speech therapy sessions and minutes for children with a cleft lip and palate in India.


The children receiving speech therapy learn to speak more clearly and can go to school.

Systemic effect

Children with a cleft lip and palate are given access to education, are better integrated in society and have better opportunities for a self-fulfilled and -reliant life.


A cleft lip and palate is one of the most common malformations worldwide – even in Europe. Statistically, one child per 500 births has a cleft lip and palate (Uniklinikum Jena, 2018). Between the 6th and 9th week of pregnancy, the individual areas of the face, such as the lip, jaw and palate, fuse. During this phase, cleft formation may occur. To date, no single cause for the formation of cleft lip and palate is known (Uniklinikum Jena, 2018). It is known that cleft malformations can be caused by both genetic and external factors, such as environmental pollution, particular altitudes, malnutrition or illness of the mother during pregnancy. In Germany, treatment costs are covered by health insurance. This is not the case in many countries of the world. Many children in India who suffer from a cleft lip and palate live in families who often have to live on less than 2 euros a day. Therefore they cannot afford a treatment of their child or even a speech therapy.

The good deed

The good deed enables the children to participate in speech therapy after a successful operation. Early speech therapy helps to promote the speech development of the affected children. The children learn to speak normally and can participate more fully in lessons. With the good deed, these children also get the chance of a carefree life with the same possibilities and conditions as other children.



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India is the largest democracy in the world. With about 1.3 billion inhabitants, it is estimated that there are about one million untreated children with a cleft palate and 50,000 cleft palate births per year.