Padma Shri Paralympian Deepa Malik and Miss Diva Universe 2019 Vartika Singh show support for Smile Train’s cause of comprehensive cleft care in India
20 Divas, children and doctors mark the conclusion of Smile Torch’s pan-India journey — a key initiative to spread awareness about clefts of the lip and palate
New Delhi– Smile Train, an international children’s cleft charity held an event at India Habitat Centre to raise awareness about the facial birth difference of cleft lip and palate and the free treatment available at Smile Train partner hospitals.
Smile Train Advisory Council member and Paralympics Medalist Padma Shri Khel Ratna Dr. Deepa Malik and Miss Diva Universe 2019 Vartika Singh, along with LIVA Miss Diva 2020 finalists joined children and doctors to show support for the cause and mark the conclusion of the journey of the Smile Torch, a national initiative by Smile Train India. Over the last year, Smile Torch has travelled to 24 states and Union territories in India and symbolically represents Smile Train’s efforts in dispelling myths surrounding clefts.
This was followed by a ramp walk where Vartika Singh and the 20 LIVA Miss Diva 2020 finalists walked hand in hand with the children to show solidarity with Smile Train and children born with clefts.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Deepa Malik, who has contributed to a number of cleft repair surgeries herself, said, “Awareness about clefts needs to spread in all corners of India to ensure a bright future for children born with clefts. Being a part of Smile Train India’s Advisory Council, I am overjoyed to see the support the Smile Torch has found across India.”
From Srinagar to Madurai, Imphal to Jodhpur, the Smile Torch ensured that the message that comprehensive cleft care is available free of cost was carried to every corner of the country. It even made its mark at the Wagah Border, where the Border Security Force hosted it. During its journey, Smile Train Goodwill Ambassadors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, cricketer Harbhajan Singh and Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur-Marwar and various public figures including Governor of Manipur Najma Heptullah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Puducherry Lt. Governor Dr. Kiran Bedi, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Union Cabinet Minister Arjun Munda, among other eminent individuals, held it aloft to pledge their support to the cause of clefts.
“There are so many myths associated with clefts. I am here to spread the message that clefts can be easily treated, because every kid deserves a chance to smile confidently”, said Vartika Singh, who was crowned as the winner of Miss Diva in 2019, and joined the Smile Torch in Puducherry.
“We are grateful to all our partners and supporters, whose contributions have made all the difference. We are confident about achieving our goal of supporting one million successful cleft repair surgeries in India very soon,” said Mamta Carroll, Smile Train India’s Vice President & Regional Director Asia.
Smile Train recently celebrated 20 years of operations in India and has supported more than 600,000 successful cleft surgeries. The NGO continues to expand its network of partners hospitals, doctors, donors and supporters by following a sustainable model for providing cleft care in the country.
About Smile Train:
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's India’s sustainable approach, please visit smiletrainindia.org.
About Miss Diva:
Miss Diva is a host to most sought-after glamorous beauty pageants in the country that turns dreams into reality. It is a property with a mass appeal as millions worldwide gear up to watch India’s next representative at the global platform. It is the search of the perfect woman with beauty, poise, elegance and intelligence to represent India at Miss Universe and Miss Supranational. It is a platform that has won many accolades for the country on the international arena and the past winners such as Sushmita Sen, Lara Dutta, Asha Bhat and, Srinidhi Shetty, who have made India proud at international circles.