"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #7: Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez - Tess Unlimited


  • Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez


  • Guatemala

Which Initiative?

  • Tess Unlimited


  • Surgery of babies and children with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate, in close partnership with local hospitals, health posts and midwives throughout Guatemala
  • Other projects throughout Guatemala where Tess' team and local+international volunteers work hands-on: milk project, orthodontic care, psychological guidance, speech therapy

Something special?

  • Parents who have a child with a cleft lip or an clet palate have to try to overcome fear and their shame. Group therapy sessions, between parents of different children, also help them become more stable with their situation. Tess Unlimited provides psychological guidance for both parents and children, through experienced Guatemalan and international volunteers 
  • Campamento Sonrisas is a 10-day summer camp (yearly in November) organized especially for young adults born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. During this week they have different trips and activities to create an environment where they can share experiences, make friendships, develop social skills and have some fun. Each year Tessa and her team are looking for specialized volunteers like psychologists, speech pathologists, drama teachers (workshops) and creative volunteers

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

In 2008, Tessa first discovered the beauty of South America. Not only because of its spectacular nature, but also because of the work she was doing as a volunteer. Tess began by caring for handicapped children in Peru and ended up as an English teacher in Ecuador. Eventually, she lost her heart to Guatemala. Tess perfected her Spanish and started working in a local public school and in the hospital with babies born with cleft lip and palate. This paved the way for other projects and ideas and led to the foundation of Tess Unlimited. Tessa has lived in Guatemala ever since, and she is fortunate to be able to work with a fantastic local/international team, supported by the Tess foundation based in The Netherlands.

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