Agonizing by the experience of helplessness and ignorance upon the birth of her cleft lip and palate baby that resulted in unnecessary sufferings to the baby and herself, and discovering it a great relief for the parents of the same fate to vent the grievous feelings as well as to exchange the techniques of baby caring while waiting at cleft clinics, a parent conceived in her mind an idea to gather the parents and form a self-help organization. Subsequently, with the assistance of Dr. Sik-kuen CHOW and Dr. Nigel King, a group of parents with cleft lip and palate children gathered for the first time at the YMCA clubhouse in Sslisbury Road on 21st December 1991 for a meeting of this purpose. Then an executive committee of 10 people was elected out of the 90 attendants (27 families). The Hong Kong Parents’ Association for Cleft Lip and Palate Children was thus born.
The Hong Kong Association for Cleft Lip and Palate (formerly named Hong Kong Parents’ Association for Cleft Lip and Palate Children) was founded voluntarily in late 1991. Our aim is to help the affected children to have normal mental and intellectual development by the support and experience-sharing among the parents. Up to now our membership has soared to more than 900 families residing in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan. The Association changed its name to “Hong Kong Association for Cleft Lip and Palate” in order to increase the scope of service.
In view of the ever-increasing workload, we began to employ a part-time clerk in May 1995. From Jan 2001 onwards, upon resignation of the part-time clerk, we started to employ a full time program officer. It was not until Jan 2002, just before our service centre came into operation, a social worker was added on the funding from the Social Welfare Department. Now we had two full-time staff members. The SWD funding has relieved us tremendously because most of our committee members are young parents. They have to make their living on the one hand and take care of their affected children on the other; some of them even have to further study during spare time. Thus limited time can be squeezed to handle clerical and preparatory works of the Association. Therefore, employment of full-time staff has expedited the development of the Association. Because of the increasing demand on our service from the patients of clefts and their families, the Association was successfully granted with welfare rent for the premises at Wang Tau Hom Estate to set up a Service Centre.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charity Trust allocated a sum of $600,000 to the Association to us for renovation and fitting-out. Our service centre came into operation on 19th January, 2002, which means that we can provide a more complete service to our members and patients of clefts.