LWB Community Blog

The 2015 Cleft Exchange – Less than 4 Weeks Away!

Planning a cleft exchange takes at least six months of preparations, and the excitement really starts building when we realize we are less than a month away. We are so grateful to everyone who has funded a child for surgery, and there are some truly beautiful children still needing sponsors in their corner!

Unnamed ChildrenSome of the children still in need of sponsors

Some of our supporters have noticed that our cleft exchange surgery costs are a bit more than last year, and we wanted to give you a breakdown on where your donations are going. This year we have set the cost at $750 per child.

Cleft baby

We are honored to partner once again with Kaifeng Children’s Hospital (KCH) for this year’s exchange. Naturally, there are costs associated with using their facility, from OR time to utilizing their nurses on the ward to all the medicines used during surgery, etc. KCH agreed to lower their normal fees to $600 per case this year, with the hospital donating the remainder of the typical surgery fees.


Of course, we have to get all the children to Kaifeng, which for many will be a very long journey. Travel costs can range from $10 per person each way if the orphanage is close enough to drive or take a train, to as much as $200 each way if the journey requires airline travel. For example, one of the children coming this year is Samuel from the Tibetan Plateau, and he and his father will have a two day bus journey from their home to the capital of Sichuan province, and then a plane ride to Henan. That will be quite the adventure! Samuel is one of the children in need of sponsors.

TibetanfamilySamuel (in the middle) and his family

For the children who are orphaned, we also pay a daily caregiver fee and food stipend. Many orphanages are short-staffed with nannies and cannot spare one to travel with a child in need of surgery, and so often temporary caregivers must be employed to bring the children from the orphanages for surgery.


Our current per diem for a nanny is $25 per day, along with $3.50 for meals (yes, that seems low, doesn’t it?) Most of the children will be arriving in Kaifeng on Sunday so our medical team can clear them for surgery and determine the OR schedule. This means most of the children will be away from their homes for at least four days, if not more, so caregiver expenses will be between $100 and $150 per child.

Cleft nanny

In addition, unexpected expenses typically arise. Sometimes poor, rural families show up without warm clothing or shoes for their children, or children arrive who are very sick and require medical treatment before surgery. That is why we are also so grateful to anyone who makes a general cleft exchange donation because these donations allow us to meet the needs we see once our team is on site.


We invite you to visit our surgery sponsorship page today and see some of the wonderful kids still needing funding for their surgeries. Any amount given is such a blessing, from $5 to the full surgery cost.

We are always so grateful to you for supporting our cleft exchanges as they impact so many lives. Watch this space for more news as the trip gets even closer!

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