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Bahzara and his sister Sajida's story - 'They said their cleft conditions were a result of their Mum touching her lip during a lunar eclipse'

HER son sits on her lap, her daughter by her side. She pulls her hijab over her face when the tears start to fall.

Noorina Rahman, 40, has given birth to 14 children. Her daughter Sajida, now eight, and son Bahzara, six, were both born with cleft lips and palates.

They said it was because she touched her lip during a lunar eclipse. She doesn't know if it's true or not. But the tears pouring down her face show the anguish she feels at the suffering of her children.

Husband Roze Rahman, 40, has travelled with his wife and their two children for 11 hours to reach the Cleft Hospital in Gujrat. He's a poor man from the Pashtum region in northern Pakistan, close to its border with Afghanistan and scrapes a living off the land.

Even the bus fare would have been beyond him. They're only here because a female doctor visiting their remote village to treat one of their other daughters when she got TB saw the children's faced. She got in touch with the hospital's medical director Dr Ijaz Bashir and paid for their tickets.

The family come in the clothes they stand up in. They have no food, no water and nothing to protect them from the burning intensity of the sun's rays.

But they've got hope.

"Thank God we have these doctors coming from abroad to help us," says Mr Rahman. "They must be very kind people to want to help children like these. For us, it's a blessing."

The couple thought they had no option but to accept their children's deformities. But when one of their other daughters caught TB, the female doctor who came to visit them told them about the Cleft Hospital in Gujrat offering free treatment to poor Pakistani families.

They learned about the UK surgeons and medical staff coming to the hospital twice a year to operate on scores of children, offering them the chance of a brighter future.

The doctor contacted hospital medical director Dr Ijaz Bashir and appointments were made.

Both children have cleft lips and palates but Sajida, because she is older and has gone longer without corrective treatment, has her gum now embedded into her face where her lip should be, with her teeth jutting out. As well as surgery to repair her cleft condition, she will also require the help of an orthodontist and speech therapist.

Her brother Bahazara has a less severe condition and the medical team are confident they can help the children with operations at the last cleft camp and surgery planned for later in the year.