Deepak Dhebare is a year old and the youngest child in his family. He has two sisters, aged 5 and 7 and they all live with his parents who farm soya bean crops on their 1 acre of land in the district of Bede – some 150km from Aurangabad.

It is a hard life for little reward. Working long hours on the farm and being at the mercy of the climate – which determines how successful their crops will be – means life is uncertain and income unpredictable.

Last year Deepak was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. His parents describe being “scared” that he had been born with such a defect – they were concerned that it was somehow their fault and that they had done something to invite being “cursed”.

They were worried as to how they could afford the necessary corrective surgery for Deepak as they did not have the finances to pay for it and worried that “he would be like this for life”.

Feeding him was difficult – they could only give him biscuits mashed up with milk because he regurgitated everything else through his nose.

In the village where they live local health workers visit families and provide food and basic health education. They informed the Dhebares about the Northern Cleft Foundation’s work and they travelled the 150km by bus to be assessed.


Deepak’s mum described feeling very happy that he had been able to have corrective surgery. Even though his lip was swollen immediately after his operation she felt he looked a lot better.

He will be seen at Hedgewar hospital for review by the ENT surgeons and we look forward to seeing how he looks then.