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New Year, New Smiles

Nujen Khan before and after cleft surgery

2020 has been an unforgettable year. However, despite all the difficult times we faced as a society, we also learnt some lifelong lessons, and were surrounded by stories of hope and courage. The children who we meet through the year always inspire us to keep going, no matter what. Their smiles are proof that all we do is worth it, and the lives they go on to lead make us proud; their resilience pushes us towards positivity, and their love is what makes our world keep turning.

We ensure that thousands of beneficiaries who visit our partner hospitals walk away with a new smile, and we are able to do this with the support of our medical partners who enable comprehensive cleft care from counseling to nutrition, from surgery to rehabilitation, from speech therapy to orthodontics, and so much more. Each of the children we support is special to us, but today, we’ll share three special smile stories to wrap up 2020 and bring in the New Year.

From rural Maharashtra, Nujen Khan’s parents did not know about cleft, but were determined to get their child treated. His father works at a garage and the family survives on his modest income. Moreover, Nujen had difficulty feeding from a bottle and would not gain weight. Cleft treatment at Smile Train partner hospital in Jalgaon, Astha Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Centre brought hope and transformation. Now, Nujen is 11 years old and studies in grade 4. His parents hope he will become a teacher someday, but till then he is busy playing pranks on his friends and making everyone laugh!

Then we have the story of gorgeous Pawni, from Uttar Pradesh. The first born child in a family whose monthly income was just Rs 5000, Pawni’s parents were distraught after seeing her with a cleft lip. However, soon after she was born, they took her to a government hospital nearby, who told them about Smile Train India’s work and informed them there was a partner hospital just 50 kilometres away who would support the required surgery free of cost! After a single surgery at Anand Hospital at Meerut, Pawni’s parents say that her life has been transformed, and they look forward to a happy, healthy future for their child.

Pawni with her mother after cleft surgery

Another story that warmed our hearts was that of Aqib. When he was born, his parents remembered seeing another child in their locality who had been born with a cleft lip. They immediately asked around and found out that their son’s cleft lip was completely treatable, and hopped on to a bus that took them to Smile Train India’s partner hospital 80 kilometers away. After his surgery, Aqib has recovered well and is already turning into an intelligent, mischievous young boy for whom the sky's the limit!

Aqib and his mother after cleft surgery

These three smiles — and thousands of others — would not be possible without the support of people like you, our donors, who ensure that comprehensive cleft care goes on despite all the other goings-on in the world. To all of you — Happy New Year!

Smile Train can provide life-changing cleft support only because of the kind contributions of people like you.

Our impact in India

as of May 2023


cleft surgeries sponsored since 2001


active partner surgeons


active partner hospitals