Dr Hirji Adenwalla: The Ultimate SmileMaker

Smile Train

Dr Adenwalla

While it is nearly impossible to collect all the anecdotes that reflect Dr. Adenwalla’s kindness, courage, sense of humour, professionalism, and energy, we are sure that the stories shared today echo everyone’s sentiments about him. For the Smile Train team members, Dr. Adenwalla was a living legend and a guiding start for compassion in cleft care This three-part endeavour to celebrate Dr. Adenwalla’s illustrious life is our way of saying three cheers for our ‘Ultimate SmileMaker’!

“Dr Adenwalla was a great mentor, always guiding us and holding us to a high standard. It was him who created and took Smile Train India Programs to the level we see it today. For those like me who knew him personally, Dr. Adenwalla was a very endearing person. Full of gentle wisdom and hard discipline which pushed us to drive ourselves, and in the process, evolve. Dr. Adenwalla was the sage who helped everyone.

Amidst all this, was his great and boundless love and compassion for children with clefts. That shone through right from the time he set up the Charles Pinto Cleft Centre at Jubilee Mission Hospital in Thrissur and the countless smiles he created. Goodbye Dr. Adenwalla, you will always be deeply loved and cherished. 

Those who cross over are said to become stars. Stars like You become the Light itself.

Mamta Carroll
Vice President and Regional Director, Asia


Dr Adenwalla


“My first meeting with Dr. Adenwalla was in Chennai and I was instantly struck by his persona - impressive, humble and grounded. As I came to know him it became evident how dedicated he was to his work and committed to his passion of helping people.

During my first visit to the Charles Pinto Centre at Jubilee Mission Hospital, Thrissur, I spent a full day with him in his OPD. I sat next to him as he started his consultations - his kindness, energy, and childlike interaction with children with clefts will always remain a cherished memory.

Over the years I discovered in him some remarkable qualities - those of unfiltered honesty, fierce passion, capacity to cheer others and to drive everyone toward excellence.  I am sure all those who studied medicine under him must have been blessed to have had a teacher like Dr. Adenwalla. For me he will always be ‘Gandalf’ – wise beyond this realm and it’s been my privilege to have known him. May the spirit that he embodied and lived with inspire us all in our work and lives.”

Renu Mehta
Area Director, Strategic Projects, South Asia


Dr Adenwalla


“There are a very few in this world who touch millions of lives selflessly. Dr. Adenwalla was one such man, who has left us with countless precious memories.

You would lead rounds to the Cleft ward in your trademark white half-sleeved shirt, shorts and walking stick. Discussions with your team on each patient’s case were a constant source of education and insight for me and many. The times spent with you in OPD, learning about cleft were the most precious and I cannot be in gratitude enough to you for being a remarkable teacher.

I recollect the conversations with you during the walks to your home, over meals and listening to your stories made me understand why you abandoned the fame of big city and carved a beautiful life for yourself in a small town. You and M’aam were always in sync and I remember how when you would forget something, you would gently tap on her hand and she would have the cue for you. It is the loveliest companionship I have witnessed.

After each training program you would say that you wished you had learnt the techniques earlier and that you would have had better results is testament to the fact that you, as a surgeon, were a student of your craft and artistry all your life.

I have lost a respected teacher, a gifted surgeon and a very noble friend but I will always cherish the memories of times spent with you, the ultimate smile-maker.
Leela Imam
Senior Program Director, India

As shared by team members from Smile Train’s Asia team. 

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