We met An at the State Orphanage in Phan Thiet in January 2015. She was 3 years old. Apart from other visible handicaps like the lack of all her fingers, she suffered from a cleft lip which had been taken care of and a cleft palate which had not yet been taken care of. Since Mai Nha hosted little An and given her rather agressive behaviour, it was decided to have 2 dedicated nannies taking care of her during daytime i.e. 8 hours a day for each nanny.
Very quickly, thanks to the loving and caring she received, An cheered up and enjoyed her new home. Last May, thanks to the highly reputable charity "Operation Smile" , An underwent successfully cleft palate surgery. Given the post-surgery potential complications and the need for support An needed in order to adjust to her new palate (eating, speaking etc), she stayed in Saigon at a highly competent state institution specialized in this type of handicap. Since then she has been staying there taken care of by a wonderfully caring team.
On November 5th, An had two appointments in two different hospitals: One being a standard check of her palate and the other her first ever hearing test by a specialist. Needless to say this was going to be an intense day for her: leaving for the first time her current "home base", taking a taxi in the sprawling city of Saigon and of course the emotions and anxiety generated by the hospitals. As the pictures show, the whole day has been extremely intense and very moving for little An and for one of the nurses from the institution who stayed with her and took care of her and her anxieties in an impressive way .
The great news is that her palate is just perfect and that her hearing is very good. She will continue to stay at the institution for another 6 months and will get the appropriate support including speech therapy and by the summer 2016 little An is scheduled to come home and is scheduled to enroll at elementary school, just like her brothers and sisters. All other children and staff are anxious to welcome her again after her one year absence.
This example of little An shows in a very tangible way how Mai Nha matters: from an abandoned, rather severely handicapped, aggressive little child, thanks to Mai Nha, Operation Smile and the Institution in Saigon which Mai Nha contacted for support, little An can look forward to a better life and a real future : physically , emotionally and education wise.