Home Arts & Culture Runway Model and Cleft Survivor Vivian Mansaray Releases Autobiography

Runway Model and Cleft Survivor Vivian Mansaray Releases Autobiography

Through her story, Vivian aims to raise awareness of clefts, a congenital birth defect that can make it challenging to breathe, eat, or even communicate.

Former runway model Vivian Mansaray of Sierra Leone has published her book, “The War,” which chronicles her experience surviving both a cleft palate and her country’s civil conflict.

Speaking at the book launch, Vivian described her experience of chronicling her life in the hopes of inspiring many individuals facing various obstacles.

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“I would like to use my story to inspire many people going through difficult moments to take courage and keep going. I lost my family and was called many names due to my cleft palate. I am, however, using my story to encourage people to never give up on themselves,” said Vivian.

Former Miss Universe Kenya Wabaiya Kariuki, actor Lowry Odhiambo, and Jackson Kamau Alias DJ Soxxy were among the guests during Vivian’s book launch.

Being born with a cleft palate, Vivian found it challenging to interact socially with her peers during her early school years. She was an intelligent student, but her speech difficulties made her have to repeat class one three times.

She also had to flee to Kenya to meet her sister and husband during this period, having lost both of her parents in the early 1990s civil war in Sierra Leone.

She underwent surgery to correct her cleft palate at the age of 25, but speech treatment was still necessary.

Because of her beautiful features, the doctor advised her to think about runway modeling.

She then became involved with Smile Train, an international charity for cleft lip patients, which helped her with free speech therapy to help with her articulation.

Through her story, Vivian aims to raise awareness of clefts, a congenital birth defect that can make it challenging to breathe, eat, or even communicate.

Along with her charitable work, she donates clothing to needy families and the elderly in Western Kenya, and she also provides sanitary towels to females attending school.

As for Vivian, Smile Train Programme Manager East Africa Joseph Kariuki praised her for speaking out against the stigma associated with clefts.

In addition, he encouraged locals to get free medical care at the closest Smile Train partner facility.

“Smile Train is committed to ensuring that patients born with clefts receive free, safe, and quality cleft treatment so that they can go on to live a healthy and productive life. Stories like Vivian’s are a testament to the fact that with early intervention, children born with clefts can thrive. Smile Train partners with local medical professionals to provide comprehensive cleft care within their communities all year round,” added Joseph.

The World Health Organisation estimates that one in 700 babies are born with a cleft palate.

Since the charity’s founding its Smile Train operations in Kenya in 2002, over 10,700 people have benefited from free cleft treatment thanks to its network of 22 partner facilities located all over the country.

The nonprofit organisation keeps debunking cleft myths and prejudices.

KBC Digital
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