Cen tu wa
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Story written by: Anchalee Chaichanavijit
Centuwa had a rough start to life. His mother passed away only a few months after he was born. Then his father dumped him in a garbage disposal area. On top of that Centuwa had been born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.
Fortunately a kind man named Se Pue saw Centuwa, adopted him and raised him like his own son in Mae Ra Ma Luang Camp (MRML) for Karen refugees.
There were challenges for Se Pue. As a refugee, he had no money. And he was illiterate. Se Pue really did not know how he could provide his stepson with a normal life.
Like many children with a cleft lip and cleft palate, Centuwa had difficulties eating and drinking because his tongue would stick out and he vomited a lot. Fortunately, the people in the camp didn’t ridicule or disdain his deformities.
When medical staff at MRML told Se Pue about Operation Smile Thailand, he and a teacher from the camp took three year old Centuwa on a six-hour journey to Sri Sangwan Hospital in Mae Hong Son. There, in February 2016, Centuwa received life-changing surgery.
While Centuwa no longer has biological parents or even an official birth date, he now has a smile and the prospect of a better life. Se Pue is exceedingly grateful to Operation Smile Thailand.