Every year, 4,000 - 5,000 Filipino children are born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Cleft lip and palate are two the most common and curable birth defects. Sadly, most clefts go unrepaired in developing countries due to lack of medical care, knowledge and resources. Just one surgery can change a child’s life forever. Gwapa is the first feature length documentary dedicated to bringing awareness to the high number of children born with cleft deformities in the Philippines, their lack of access to basic medical care, and the great need for free reconstructive surgeries.
After filming Gwapa, Lindsey followed her passion and spent 5 years on the brand marketing team at Operation Smile, an international medical charity that provides free surgeries for children with cleft lip and cleft palate. Lindsey has two adopted siblings with cleft palates and has witnessed first hand the struggle that children with clefts and their families endure. She has also experienced the resilience and spirit of those same children who are able to overcome their challenges and has been inspired by them to bring awareness to this cause. Serendipitously, the surgeons featured in Gwapa are her adopted siblings surgeons, a touching fact that she was unaware of until she signed on to produce this project.