Gowong Chouhan is a cheerful nine year old child born with cleft lip. Born in a poor family in one of the remote villages of Karbi Anglong, Assam, he barely got the chance to visit school. His father, Dhanpal Chouhan is an agricultural labourer who works hard to make their daily ends meet.
Tears rolled down his father’s eyes as he narrated us the story of his child’s struggles and plight. His birth was like a curse to the family. Facing humiliation everyday from neighbours and relatives, his parents tried every possible way to get his deformity cured, though not by any medical means but by visiting temples and numerous holy places. They were told by the people in the village that taking their son to such places would cure him. But every effort to cure him in this way went in vain. They almost started believing that their child was destined to live a life with this deformity which deprived him to smile like any other normal child.
As Gowong grew up and saw himself to be quite different from his siblings and others, he held his parents responsible for this condition. He blamed them for not taking enough care of him as a child and vented out all his frustrations and quite often stayed aloof. Gowong eventually came to terms with the idea that nothing could be done and he had to live for the rest of his life with this deformity unaware of the fact that it could be cured.
It was last year when his parents came to know about Mission Smile from the ASHA worker of their village and that the deformity is treatable. He was finally brought to Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre (GC4) on 13th March, 2016 by his father and after the medical evaluation, he was found fit for surgery.
His surgery was done successfully on 15th March, 2016. The surgery brought a big smile on his father’s face. When told that Gowong’s surgery was funded by Indian Oil Corporation, his father was touched by their heartfelt gesture and that his family and his son would never forget. Gowong’s father said that the surgery would not have been possible without the support of Mission Smile and Indian Oil.
Gowong is like any other normal child now. He enjoys the simple joys and pleasures of life. “Thank You Indian Oil for my Smile,” – Gowong softly said in broken Assamese as he looked at his face in the mirror.