Our Mission in Vadodara, India turned out to be a grand success at ISHA Hospital. This was our first mission in partnership with Muthoot Pappachan Foundation and over all 12th Mission in Gujarat, the Land of Legends.
With the continuous cooperation of 30 volunteers that included team ISHA Hospital-Vadodara, Student Volunteers from MS University along with non-medical volunteers from Muthoot Fincorp Ltd. Vadodara, 128 patients have been screened and 61 surgeries were performed in just 4 days. This has received 98% (59) of post-op turn out on the day of one week follow-up.
We inaugurated the mission of free cleft lip surgery in India on 26th March 2017 in the presence of Mr George Muthoot (Director Muthoot Pappachan Group), Dr. Ajay Valia and Dr. Shilpy Shukla (Director ISHA Hospital), Col Shivaji Samaddar (Retd)-COO Mission Smile, Vinod Kumar Kola (State head of Muthoot Fincorp Ltd. Vadodara), Dr Prasanth Kumar Nellickal-CSR head of Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, Shri Dalip Pande-Director Partnerships of Mission Smile, Dr. Indranil Ghosh, Field Medical Director for the Mission and many well-wishers of Mission Smile & our team of dedicated volunteers of the Mission.
A Gift of Smile for the Daughter of Hope
During the mission, we came across the heart touching story of a (13 months) baby named Nirmala Raika who was an unfortunate sufferer of cleft deformities. Her parents Hukmaram Raika and Dalidevi Raika narrated their story to us. The family, originally from Sultan Nagar, Junapatrasar, Barmer Dist. Rajasthan, was very excited to greet their first baby in this world. But all their excitement turned into sheer despair when they discovered that their new born has cleft lip.
The nervous mother and the worried father couldn’t initially decide what to do and where to go for this kind of treatments. While narrating about their hardships Nirmala’s parents broke into tears. Their struggle began when the shattered couple rushed to various hospitals and returned hopeless due to the huge treatment expenses which were unaffordable for this family. The mother also described about her daughter’s daily difficulties of eating food due to cleft lip. Nirmala’s grandfather was distraught with concern as to how Nirmala would be able to lead her life and most importantly how she would ever be able to get married.
Due to this facial deformity, Nirmala and her parents had to bear insults of the cruel society. Being stuck amidst the poignant battle of struggle and misery, they ultimately surrendered to the decision of God and their fate. Hukmaram, Nirmala’s father is a daily wager who earns Rs. 3000 per month to support his family. Hence, it was almost impossible for him to take up the pocket burning expenses of cleft surgery done at private hospitals. At this point of time, Mission Smile proved to be the only ray of hope for this helpless child who turned 13 months old. Her cousin brother, Pukhraj Raika, a 14 year old student of class 9, one day while coming back from his tuition classes noticed a poster giving details about the Mission. He immediately mentioned this to parents who went to the nearby Muthoot Fincorp Branch located at New Suma, Vadodara, to find the details. The Muthoot Branch Manager Ms. Neeta Christian, counselled the parents and brought them for screening to the ISHA Hospital. They were delighted to know that Nirmala could be treated by the mission team and that there would be no fee they would have to pay including their travel, hospital stay, food, or the surgery and medicines.
Once Nirmala received her surgery they were amazed at the change and when our team visited their home after the surgery their happiness and of those in their neighbourhood was an amazing sight. Her mother who at the hospital was very concerned and serious and never once smiled could not stop smiling and her grandfather was extremely relieved with the belief that now Nirmala would be able to lead a normal life and get married like other normal girls in their community.
Soon the deformity of despair turned to the curve of happiness.
With every smile, every touch, every effort, every hope, team Mission Smile is bringing smile on the faces of many. We thank to all our dear volunteers for cooperating with us for this noble cause. Special thanks to Dr Prasanthkumar Nellickal & Mr. Mankodi for helping us right from the patient identification, to completion of the mission. We also would like to thank Col. Shivaji Samaddar (Retd.) and Mr Dalip Pande for guiding the program team to be more organized.
Some special names to be mentioned; our team leaders – Dr.Indranil Ghosh, Dr. Kapil Lohita, Dr. Gandhi, & Rita Chawang. We thank you so much for all your love, support and guidance. You guys have leaded the team from front and handled every issue so efficiently before it became a challenge. Last but not the least, this mission, or any mission, wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the student volunteers.