My name is Mostafa. I am an Auto-rickshaw driver in Dhaka. We never had much money, but were content with life and couldn’t have asked for anything more when we found out that we were soon going to be blessed with a baby. I worried that with the little that I earned, I would not have much to offer my child, but was determined to give her the best that I could afford.
I still remember waiting anxiously in the hospital lobby to look at my first child’s beautiful smile, but when we first saw our daughter, we were shocked. Sadia was born with a cleft, a birth deformity we had never heard of or seen before. We accepted her fate and gave her all our love, but our relatives could not accept Sadia. She was leading an isolated childhood, was mocked and neglected by family members, neighbors, and other children.
We visited pediatricians who informed us that this could be cured. We went from hospital to hospital in the hope of finding one that provided affordable surgery but always returned disappointed. Frustration was setting in, but that is when one of our neighbors came in as an angel and informed us about Smile Train and the free surgeries they provide. That was the last hope for us. On consulting the doctors at Smile Train’s partner CARe Medical College Hospital, Dhaka, we were reassured that our daughter was in the right hands. But, being parents, we were anxious, and with our fingers crossed, we saw our daughter being rolled into the operation theater.
All the anxiety seemed to disappear when we saw Sadia after her surgery. We could hardly recognize her and were extremely happy seeing the change in the way she looked now! We can’t thank the hospital and doctor enough, for providing quality treatment to our daughter, that too absolutely free of cost.
A few years later, we had twins who were born with clefts. But, fortunately, this time around, we do not have to undergo the same trauma, since we know Smile Train is with us!
As told to the Smile Train India team by Mostafa Molla, Sadia’s father. Sadia underwent cleft repair surgery at partner CARe Medical College Hospital, Dhaka.