Tran Tu Lin
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The youngest of four children, Tran Tu Lin is only nine years old but has already experienced rejection beyond what most people endure in their entire lives. In addition to being a refugee from Burma, Tran was born with a cleft lip. A member of an ethnic group, the Pow Karen, Tran lives in a refugee camp called Nupoe near the town of Umphang in the province of TNK in Thailand. His mother is a farmhand who harvests crops. His father was trampled to death by an elephant six years ago. Elephants ran through the camp and he couldn’t get out of the way while getting his family to safety.
After learning of an upcoming Operation Smile medical mission to Mae Sot though the East Medical International organization, Tran travelled 6 hours in the bed of a compact pick-up truck that had a canvas cover and bench seats for the opportunity to have his cleft lip repaired. After receiving surgery to give him a new smile, Tran now has the same opportunities as other children to make friends and live a healthy, happy life.