Elina Smiles Again – A ‘Smile Story’ from 14th Intl Mission of GC4

At Mission Smile’s Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre (GC4) were regularly visited by parents who accompany their kids born with cleft lip and/or palate deformities. We offer free medical evaluation, advice treatment, guide needy beneficiaries through our nutrition program and conduct free cleft rectification surgeries to the selected candidates. Moreover, we conduct follow-up (review) camps to track the progress of the surgery recipients. In a word, at GC4 we provide comprehensive cleft care to patients from the northeastern states.

In our recently conducted 14th International Cleft Surgery Mission, we met Elina, a 5-year-old baby girl from Sonapur in Assam, who was born with a cleft lip. A very cheerful and sweet baby, she is the youngest of her 5 elder siblings. While enquiring about her parent’s background we came to know that Elina’s mother got married at the age of 14 (an under-age marriage). But that’s not all, due to mounting social obligations, she was forced to marry a man who was almost 25 years older to her! Now, in a family of seven members, both the parents had to work hard to earn their daily bread. Elina’s father works as a manual labour while her mother is a vegetable vendor.

When Elina was born, her mother was inconsolable after seeing her baby’s cleft deformity. She had never seen a cleft child before! Her initial discomfort about Elina’s cleft deformity affected the mother-child bond, but gradually love took over fear, and she accepted her baby’s condition. Misfortune showed up yet again when the lactating mother was diagnosed with scabies and hence was not allowed to feed her new-born! But like it is said “time heals and makes a person stronger”, after her recovery, Elina’s mother became determined to get her daughter treated. She brought Elina to Guwahati Medical College and from there she was referred to GC4. Elina was selected for cleft rectification surgery but her surgery date was deferred as she was diagnosed with scabies.

Finally, after recovery from scabies, Elina was successfully operated during our 14th International Cleft Surgery Mission. It was perhaps the brightest day for Elina and her mother. The little angel embraced her ‘new smile’!

We thank our team of doctors and medical/ non-medical volunteers as well as our donors and supporters whose contribution and determination to ‘do good’ helped us in gifting little Elina with a smile to last for her lifetime!

You too can help us pen another ‘Smile Story’ for someone like Elina.

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