Godpower and a Mother's Strength

11 December 2019 | Smile Train

When Helena learned that she was having a child at only seventeen years old, she knew it was going to be difficult. The baby’s father, a classmate of Helena’s, moved to Monrovia to help support the family and she didn’t know how she would have time to finish school and be a single mother.

When the baby arrived, Helena’s worries only increased when she saw that her daugther was born with a cleft lip. The tenth grader had never seen or heard of cleft before. At her breaking point, she called on her faith — she decided to name her daughter Godpower.

Godpower with her mother in the hospital pre-surgery.

These were trying times. Godpower’s cleft made breastfeeding impossible and Helena was afraid to be seen with her baby in public after neighbours wrongly blamed her for her daughter’s cleft and called Godpower horrible names.

Close-up of Godpower pre-surgery.

Thankfully, Helena’s mother learned clefts could be treated. She referred Helena to ELWA Hospital, a Smile Train partner just outside Monrovia. There, she learned how to feed her baby with a special bottle and that Godpower would be eligible for free surgery to repair her cleft lip and her cleft palate once she got a little bigger.

Helena holds Godpower as the baby and local Smile Train employee smile at each other.

When the day finally came and Helena saw her child’s new smile for the first time, she was overcome with joy. “When I saw Godpower coming out of surgery, I knew that from now on we will be happy and have a good life,” she said.

Helena holds Godpower in a hospital bed just after her surgery.

Godpower’s surgery didn’t only change her life; it opened new possibilities for her whole family. “I now want to finish school, go to university, and become a doctor,” Helena said. “Doctors are good people who save human lives and I want to be one of them.”


With a gift to Smile Train, you can support 2,100+ local medical professionals to provide 100 %-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.