Anisha was born in Kalianagar, a village in West Bengal, about 5 hours away from Kolkata, and was the first child of her parents, Rakhi and Akhibul Mondal. Rakhi and Akhibul run a small business and their monthly earnings are of about 10, 000 rupees. They had been looking forward to the birth of their baby and were overjoyed to have her in their arms. However, they were saddened by the deep gash splitting her lip in two. Anisha was born with a cleft lip.
Anisha’s parents are distantly related and in their family, cleft lips are common. In fact, at least one person in their family in the last 3 generations have suffered the same ailment. So the parents were aware of the situation. What they weren’t prepared for though, is the shame and scorn thrown at them.
People refused to play with, or even hold Anisha. Socializing became almost impossible for the small family. Their own relations distanced themselves and didn’t help out. It was difficult to care for the child as well. Feeding was very difficult because of the ailment. The parents were almost about to give up. They knew that their small income would not allow a surgery for the little child.
When Anisha was seven months old, her parents heard about us from a field representative in the area. They brought her to the Tapan Sinha Memorial Hospital in Kolkata where the little child was found fit for surgery. The parents waited outside anxiously, with prayers on their lips. Not only did the child’s future depend on this, all their social interactions were also dependant on how the surgery went off.
Fortunately, the surgery was successful and Anisha’s cleft lip was removed. The parents were overjoyed. “All will be well now. Everyone will love our little one,” they said.