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Cleft Con India 2024

A Face-to-Face Celebration

Cleft Con India 2024 participants

Our signature event, Cleft Con, marked yet another heartfelt gathering of the cleft community to unite and celebrate as the power of one. The highly anticipated annual event, Cleft Con India 2024, took place in the vibrant and culturally rich city of Chennai on June 8, 2024. The event brought together the extraordinarily resilient members of the cleft community, embracing the theme "Face to Face".

This year's Cleft Con India welcomed more than 250 participants from the cleft community, including individuals with a cleft, parents, partner doctors, and supporters. It served as a beacon for those who have navigated their own paths of challenges and triumphs. More than just a gathering, Cleft Con India 2024 was a heartfelt celebration - a convergence of courage, talent, and spirit.

Mamta Carroll, Smile Train’s Senior Vice President and Regional Director for Asia, shared her deepest and uplifting thoughts, emphasizing the importance of unity and resilience within the cleft community. The keynote address by Ashwin Kkumar, an acclaimed actor and cleft warrior, set an inspiring and empowering tone for the event. His words resonated deeply, motivating attendees to embrace their unique journeys with focus and confidence.

Ashwin Kkumar speaking at Cleft Con India 2024
Mamta Carrol speaking at Cleft Con India 2024
Mamta Carroll and Ashwin Kkumar at the event

Insightful panel discussions took place through the day. One session centered on the experiences of fathers of children with clefts, revealing the deep, often unspoken emotions. Another panel explored relationships cleft affected individuals with their partners, providing valuable insights on acceptance and redefining beauty. The “Jugalbandi” session facilitated an open dialogue between cleft warriors and medical professionals, allowing participants to address their worries and inhibitions. A powerful session later in the day spotlighted accomplished professionals with a cleft who shared their inspiring career stories and offered guidance on mastering interviews.

Following the tradition of Cleft Con India, Smile Train felicitated its donor, Ashraya Hastha Trust (AHT), with the Smile Maker Award, recognising their commitment to changing lives, one smile at a time. The global award conferred upon Shoba Lonappan from Jubilee Mission Hospital, Thrissur, at the Smile Train 25th anniversary gala event was ceremoniously presented to her at the event.

felicitation session at Cleft Con India 2024
felicitation session at Cleft Con India 2024
Felicitation session

Cleft warriors from different parts of the country came “face to face” to share their stories. The day was filled with vibrant performances and activities, as well as a theatrical play “Dreams Unlimited”. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with fellow cleft community members, engage in various sessions, and share their journeys in a supportive and unbiased environment.

The event concluded with a heartfelt promise to return in 2025 with renewed passion and an even greater vision, aiming to make a deeper impact to the cleft community.