A Student of Resiliency

3 September 2019 | Smile Train

Kamse was born with a cleft lip in an isolated settlement on Kenya’s border with Uganda. The family was unaware that cleft surgery was possible, so they didn’t look for available treatment.

Kamse at his house

Kamse’s grandfather, Lokapel, believed that his grandson was being neglected by his parents. He remained silent until he learned that Kamse’s parents weren’t going to enroll him in school like his siblings. So, despite his meagre earnings and advanced age, Lokapel asked Kamse’s parents if his grandson could move into his house. They agreed, and Kamse was enrolled in school.

Kamse at school

Kamse was excited for his first day of school, but, when the day finally came, he was taunted all day long. Kamse ran home and begged his grandfather never to make him go back.

Kamse at school in front of tree

Lokapel eventually convinced Kamse of the importance of school, but, unfortunately, the teasing didn’t stop. To avoid the bullying, Kamse would hide in the bushes when he saw other children on the way to school. This stressful environment affected Kamse’s performance, and he fell behind in his studies.

Kamse in front of his grandfathers house

Everything changed when a health worker came to the settlement and shared that Kamse could receive a Smile Train-supported cleft surgery at Cure Kijabe Hospital. Since the family had no means of getting to the hospital, the health worker even set up Smile Train-supported transportation to ensure that they could get to the hospital.

Kamse after his cleft lip surgery

The very first time Kamse left his village was the adventure of a lifetime, and he intently stared out the windows for the entire five-hour bus ride. Then, the brave 11-year-old received his forever smile.

Kamse with his school friends

When Kamse returned home, everyone was amazed at his transformation — inside and out. The once-shy boy almost immediately opened-up and started making friends at school.

Kamse with a book

Since his cleft treatment, Kamse has never missed a day of school. He participates in class and takes full advantage of recreation time. He says he loves his new life.

Kamse smiles with his grandfather

Lokapel has never been happier either.


If you would like to help us enable forever smiles and second chances at life for children like Kamse and help grandfathers like Lokapel provide equal opportunities for their grandchildren, in school and out, please make a gift today.