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Mursaleen and Muntaha

Shahid Kouser, 30, felt blessed when wife Shezana gave birth to their first son Ahesem in 2006 and two years later, Abdullah was born. But their happy world was torn apart when daughter Mursleen was born with a cleft lip and palate followed by another daughter Muntaha. Both girls had severe forms of cleft.

“We had never seen a child like this in our life” says Shezana, 28. “People started asking different questions, if maybe we had done bad things and this was our punishment. Some even said we were being punished by God because we’d been very proud to have two sons. But all these gossips didn’t trouble us. We were just worried about our daughters that what had happened to them and how will they survive”
The family lives in the remote village of Pahdanwalin in the district of Mandi Bahauddin. A visiting doctor saw the faces of the girls and told Shezana and Shahid about Cleft Hospital which was just 40 kilometres away in the city of Gujrat.

Shahid, an electrician, is the sole bread owner of the family who survives on odd jobs to put bread on the table. With the support of their families and friends, the couple gathered every penny they could for the bus fare to the hospital. The family did not have a single rupee left to pay for treatment for one daughter, let alone two. “We were very worried about the treatment but when we visited cleft hospital, we were welcomed and guided through the whole treatment plan,” said Shahid.
“Our daughters underwent surgeries and followed by a number of follow ups visits without us spending a single penny on their treatment”
Today, the little girls, now aged six and four, have a chance of a better future. They sit in their classroom at Arqam Model High School, no different from the rest of the children.

“Our daughters are now happy, healthy and beautiful girls who love life. This would not have been the case without the team at Cleft Hospital Pakistan and we will be forever grateful for their work.”