Miss Universe and Smile Train Goodwill Ambassador, Harnaaz Sandhu celebrated her homecoming in a special way, by witnessing a life-transforming cleft surgery and boosting the confidence of cleft affected children at Smile Train partner hospital, National Heart Institute, Delhi.
The global beauty pageant winner’s interests have always extended beyond beauty and fashion, and she has been using her social media to bust myths and misconceptions surrounding cleft lip and palate and to raise awareness on comprehensive cleft care. Earlier, she had also launched Smile Train India’s #ZorSeBolo campaign across social media platforms.
After the incredible success of her online support, she was enthusiastic about visiting a Smile Train partner facility during her homecoming to witness the surgery of a young girl born with a cleft lip.
Right before the surgery, she met baby Devika and her parents, who were all set to undergo the procedure that day. She instantly connected and bonded with the baby and appreciated the parents for making the right decision of getting the surgery done for their daughter.
While our young cleft warrior and expert doctors prepared for the surgery, she engaged in a brief tête-à-tête with Mamta Carroll, Smile Train India Senior Vice President & Regional Director – Asia, along with other team members.
Donned in her own pair of Smile Train scrubs, she spent the next 45 minutes in the operation theatre observing the life-transforming procedure under the supervision of Dr Karoon Agarwal and his team.
“I was initially nervous to watch the procedure but all that went away when I saw the ease and efficiency with which Dr Karoon and his team performed the surgery. I am now even more confident that cleft is completely treatable, and patients have nothing to worry about.” - Harnaaz, after exiting the operation theatre
The latter half of her visit was spent meeting a squad of Cleft Warriors who have undergone the surgery in the past. Seeing these kids and youngsters thrive further strengthened her resolve to fight for every child’s right to smile and live a fulfilling life.
This was followed by a presentation from Dr O P Yadava, welcoming Harnaaz to National Heart Institute and sharing more information on its vital association with Smile Train India and support for the cause.
Our Cleft Warrior, Jai Gaur, who underwent his operation in December 2020, surprised everyone with the ease and confidence with which he sang the Shawn Mendes song ‘Youth’ as a special tribute. Harnaaz personally went up to him to congratulate him for his mellifluous voice and soulful performance.
Lastly, the eventful day concluded with Mamta Carroll inviting Harnaaz to unveil Smile Train India’s Nutrition Toolkit, developed in 13 languages - a ready resource that will provide medical practitioners and parents of cleft patients with helpful information and illustrations on meeting the nutritional needs of children born with clefts.
As described by the Smile Train India team, with images captured during the event at National Heart Institute, Delhi on March 25th, 2022.