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Three young boys stand next to each other. One holds a picture of his younger self with a cleft lip.

For four long years, Desire and Sergine’s hearts were heavy with worry for their little boy, Tommy. Born with a cleft lip, Tommy needed life-changing surgery, but the family’s modest income from selling lychees and cloves during harvest time was barely enough to cover their basic needs. The dream of saving enough money for Tommy’s surgery seemed impossible.

The turning point came when Desire and Sergine discovered Operation Smile Madagascar and learned that Tommy could receive free surgery and ongoing cleft care. With renewed hope, they anxiously awaited confirmation that Tommy was strong and healthy enough for surgery. Finally, the day arrived: Tommy was cleared for surgery! The family’s emotions were a mix of relief and anticipation as they made their way to the hospital, ready for this life-changing moment.

A young boy with a cleft lip looks into the camera
A shy Tommy is moments away from a major, life-changing milestone!

Tommy’s surgery was a success. As he lay in his post-operative bed with a new, perfect smile, his father, Sergine, watched over him with a heart full of gratitude and joy. The years of worry melted away, replaced by dreams of a brighter future for Tommy.

Eight months later, at a follow up cleft care visit, Tommy was a changed boy. No longer hiding behind a shy demeanor, he ran around with his cousins, his face full of smiles. The transformation was astounding, and the entire village noticed. Tommy’s smile became a symbol of hope and possibility. Inspired by his story, several families decided to take their children to the next Operation Smile surgical program in Tamatave.

Tommy’s new smile had ripple effects throughout his family. The teasing stopped, and his brother, Cristofa, no longer had to defend him. Tommy started school and quickly grew to love it. With his newfound confidence, he embraced learning and playing with other children.

Three young boys playfully jump off an overturned boat on the sand
Shy Tommy is no more! Tommy is just one of the boys, having fun and playing hard!

For Desire and Sergine, the impact of Tommy’s surgery extended beyond his health and happiness. The savings they had painfully accumulated for private surgery were no longer needed for that purpose. Instead, they used the money to build their first wooden home, providing a stable and secure environment for their family.

Tommy’s story is a testament to the power of compassion and the life-changing impact of accessible healthcare. Kind friends like you gave Tommy more than just a new smile; you gave him a future full of potential and happiness. For Desire and Sergine, it was the miracle they had prayed for, and for Tommy, it was the beginning of a bright, new chapter.

Donors and Volunteers made this story possible. Thank you.