Working with children is always an exciting experience, and when its children with clefts, it is always a humbling one as well.
I had heard of cleft lip and palate before, and always empathized with what the little ones go through. But the opportunity to work on video shoots for Smile Train India, gave me a perspective I never expected and has left a lasting impact.
The innocence and positivity that the children display, despite all the hardships they are going through, can put all our problems to shame. They have been leading difficult lives, struggling to do basic activities, yet, they continue to strive and smile, to make the best of their childhood, tapping into the strength that lies within them. By interacting with their parents, I learnt about their struggles and understood that children with untreated clefts go through a lot.
But, instead of just pain, I saw hope on the parents’ faces- hope for their child to share a meal with a friend, hope for their child to have a normal childhood and hope for a better future. Their positivity, the way they look forward to simple joys in their lives, for instance, their kid making a new friend, puts life in perspective. This hope was possible because their children had a second chance at life, with a timely cleft surgery.
Being a video specialist, I have shot with a lot of people, some who are camera conscious to an extent that it takes hours to get that one perfect shot. And yes, though shooting with children is challenging and this experience was no different, their confidence and the way they adapt to the situation with so much ease, the way they warm up to you, despite leading a life where they may have been mocked by people, says a lot about the warmth in their hearts and the confidence that is slowly peeking out.
That’s the power of a surgery, the power of a transformation. It has shown children and their parents, that there is a second chance at life. That’s the power of Smile Train!
I cherish every moment of my satisfying and positively energizing experience of working with these amazing children and would jump at any opportunity that I get, to work with them time and again.
As shared by Ramsha Alam, a video specialist and Smile Train supporter.