“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead” - Nelson Mandela
19 years ago, Smile Train India started with the dream to address a single, solvable problem — cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a birth difference which can be treated with a surgery as short as 45 minutes. Unfortunately, however, they are mired in superstition and lack of awareness, which makes treatment difficult. Adding to this is the problem of accessibility and the weak economic position of patients and their families. Towards our destination of a million smiles, we are delighted to have reached a milestone of 600,000. That is more than half a million children who can now lead normal lives with equal opportunities.
That’s 600,000 fewer individuals with issues related to eating, breathing, and speaking. 600,000 confident people who now live normal lives. 600,000 forever smiles. It’s no small feat, and while we continue with renewed energy, I would be remiss not to stop and express both pride and gratitude for our network — including partner hospitals, doctors, nurses, outreach workers, speech therapists, orthodontists, counsellors, and of course, the Smile Train team — They are intrinsic to every step of this journey. I thank each one of them for their tireless dedication to the cause.
While we have so many people working on-ground, their efforts would not be possible without the continued support of our generous donors. They say that every drop in the ocean counts — even so-called “small” donation amounts go a long way towards a cleft repair surgery. Thank you all so much for believing in us and our cause.
This is an achievement we will never forget, but as I mentioned earlier, it is only a milestone in our larger journey of providing comprehensive cleft care to each of the 35,000 children born with cleft lip and palate in India each year. Join us in our quest #TowardsOneMillion smiles, whether it’s through a donation, a pledge, a hospital visit, or even just a simple social media share. Your contribution means the world to us, and we look forward to walking hand in hand on this path.
Written by Mamta Carroll, Vice President and Regional Director — Asia, Smile Train.