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Children First Foundation exists because life isn’t fair. All around the world, there are children living in pain. Children who need complex surgery and treatment that they cannot access in their home countries. We exist so that children like formerly conjoined twins, Nima and Dawa, can have the surgery they desperately need and a chance to transform their lives.

Sometimes surgery is needed to save a child’s life; sometimes to change it – enabling them to attend school, walk and run pain-free or simply to become a more active member of their community.

Watch the video below to see more children’s life-changing transformations:

Born in Bhutan, twins Nima and Dawa were joined at the chest and abdomen. As their health continued to deteriorate, girls were referred to Children First Foundation. They arrived in Australia in October 2019 to begin their life-changing journey. The operation to separate the girls took place at The Royal Children’s Hospital in November 2018. After a short stay in hospital, they were given the all-clear and discharged from the hospital. The twins spent the next four months at Children First Foundation Retreat where they underwent extensive physiotherapy to strengthen muscles they’d never used before, and to learn to do things like rolling, crawling, walking and standing up by themselves.

Today, the girls are almost four years old and are simply thriving!

In a remote island of Vanuatu, little Jack was born with a large lump on his tiny face. Fearful that he would hurt himself, and to keep him away from curious eyes, his mum Boufa was careful to shield her son from others. By a sheer stroke of luck, some visitors from Victoria came across Jack. Seeing the large bump on his face, they were eager to help and referred him to Children First Foundation. Upon further investigation, it was discovered the lump was not simply cosmetic but a life-threatening encephalocele. Jack was rushed to Australia for life-saving surgery in 2018. Now back at home, Jack is thriving. His mum says “Jack no longer has headaches, he is always playing and never sits down!”.

Celestina from Timor-Leste was born with a rare condition called ellis-van creveld syndrome, which caused multiple issues with her limbs. Her shin bones were severely damaged, causing her knees to collapse. Over time Celestina could barely walk. Life became extremely tough, and this bright and bubbly young girl lost all hope. Thankfully, following a long and challenging treatment, Celestina is now healthy and happy and has a bright future ahead of her. She has just completed her final year exams and hopes to secure a scholarship to study English at University.

Angel from the Philippines was born with a growth on her forehead that covered her nose and mouth. Although Angel’s parents showered her with love and encouragement, they seldom let her out of the house, fearful of how other children would react. Then one day, the inevitable happened. A little boy approached Angel while the family were out and shouted, ‘‘Monster!’’ Angel did not flinch. She just patted him on the shoulder and said, ‘‘Hi.’’ Today, thanks to her surgery and treatment, Angel is free from the engulfing growth on her face. She loves playing with other children and demonstrates kindness, bravery and wisdom beyond her years.

Born with a condition known as clubfeet, seven-year-old Chien from Vietnam had never walked. He relied on his school friends to carry him on their backs or inside he could scoot around using his arms. Unable to access appropriate treatment in Vietnam, life for little Chien was extremely challenging. Thankfully, after successful treatment in Australia, Chien recently started the 2020 school year with a bang – walking on his own feet.

Read about more of our amazing children’s stories