When Pradnya was born with a cleft, everyone in her family was shocked. Her father refused to see her, and everyone blamed her mother, Dipali, for this birth difference. Another story began in a similar manner miles away, in another little village of Maharashtra. Everyone in Nagesh’s family was horrified when they saw that he was born with a cleft, and his parents cursed God for giving them a child who was different. What these two children have in common, however, is their journey towards a new smile.
In India, parents of children born with cleft often do not know anything about this birth difference, let alone that it is treatable. Many children grow up continuing to struggle with untreated clefts for years, facing problems in eating, breathing, hearing and speaking. Nagesh and Pradnya’s parents were fortunate to have received the right guidance at the right time, as they were guided to Lahane Hospital in Latur, a Smile Train partner since 2005. This is where the magic happened, and two lives were changed forever.
“Our boy can smile now! We couldn’t have afforded a cleft surgery for him, but thanks to Smile Train India we didn’t have to worry about this. The doctors who gave our baby a new smile are like God to us,” gush Ashok and Sagarbai, Nagesh’s parents.
“Pradnya’s new smile is so cute! I dream of giving her a good education so that she can become a doctor one day,” says Dipali, unable to contain her own smile as she gazes fondly at her daughter.
The comprehensive cleft care supported by Smile Train includes not just cleft surgery, but also orthodontics, nutrition and speech therapy. All these efforts always bear fruit — Nagesh and Pradnya’s smiles more than prove this fact!
As narrated by Dr. Vithal Lahane — Plastic Surgeon and Smile Train Project Director at Lahane Hospital in Latur, Maharashtra.