This story of Sarvanan and his determined brother Karthik is very inspiring.
Sarvanan is a ten-year-old boy of a needy family who lives in a village in the Kalakuruchi district of Tamil Nadu. He is the fourth of the seven children of his family. He studies in class four. The boy is courageous and studious. He got admitted to the school all by himself. Three of his other siblings have died due to malnourishment and unknown reasons. Possibly because of his mother’s malnutrition, Sarvanan was born with Cleft Lip.
Sarvanan’s parents never thought of rectifying the cleft when he was a little boy because his superstitious father considered the cleft to be a cause of blessing for the family. With a meagre income of a wage labourer in the crop fields, the parents couldn’t afford the rectification for Sarvanan’s cleft lip. Added to the abject poverty, Sarvanan’s parents have their difficulties too. The mother has a hearing problem and can not attend to the children properly. His father is an alcoholic with little concern about his children’s progress.
Sarvanan grew up in the community feeling aloof and ostracised. He could not mingle and play with his classmates or his community’s children. His friends called him ‘mooly’ or “the cursed one” in Tamil. It made the sensitive boy recoil from society and suffer from depression.
Mission Smile came to know about Sarvanan and approached the family to rectify Sarvanan’s cleft lips twice before. However, the aggressive father, who believed the cleft to be a blessing for the family, drove the volunteers away. So, Sarvanan’s ordeal seemed to be a never-ending one, and he remained in his gloom.
But this time, Sarvanan got lucky. Karthik is now nineteen years old and is an earning member of the family. He works in a bakery and takes care of his mother and three siblings. The Mission Smile volunteers met Karthik and convinced him to get a free cleft surgery for Sarvanan. Karthik understood the surgery’s importance and knew that only the cleft rectification could bring his brother’s fresh hopes. He agreed to bring Sarvanan to the Mission Smile hospital at Puducherry to correct the cleft lips.
Travelling 150 km, Karthik brought his younger sibling Sarvanan to the New Medical Center at Puducherry and ASHA workers. Doctors from Mission Smile screened him and found him fit for the cleft surgery.
Sarvanan got his cleft lips operated by one of the renowned surgeons who volunteered from Chennai. Dr Shaktivel and the Anaesthesia providers Dr Deepak Dhummansure from Karnataka and Dr Beulah IIango from Chennai, were in the operation team. Dr Pradeep Reddy, who volunteered from Hyderabad, completed the post-surgery check-up of Sarvanan.
Sarvanan looks different after the surgery, and a beautiful smile lingers on his face. Once he recuperates from his surgery, no one will call him ‘cursed’ again. The determination of his brother has helped him get the surgery.
We are thankful for the love and giving that made the surgery possible for Sarvanan.
However, thousands of Sarvanan in the country are awaiting such a chance. Please donate to help kids like Sarvanan stop the cruel name-calling they face daily.