Manoj and Ruma Mondal run a small grocery store in Sirakol in the North 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal. The business is small but they make do with whatever they earn. When their son Aditya was born, they were overjoyed- the birth of their first child was very much looked forward to.
They were devastated when they saw Aditya though. He was born with a cleft lip and it was so bad that it looked as if his face was split in two.
The small family was ostracized completely. Their own families disowned them, they were labelled sinners, people taunted them and treated them with scorn and even stopped coming to their grocery store and their business suffered. Nobody wanted to play with, or even hold Aditya.
This was a horrible time for the new parents. Not only did they have no one to help them, their expenses had also gone up. Aditya, because of his condition, could not be breastfed, and they had to buy expensive formulas for him to drink. With the business suffering, the parents could barely manage. Getting him operated was out of the question for them, something they couldn’t even afford to think of.
It was when Aditya was 5 months old that his parents learnt of the free cleft lip surgeries performed by us, through one of our field agents in the area. Aditya was brought, almost immediately, to the Tapan Sinha Memorial Hospital. The doctors examined him and declared him fit for surgery.
This was a very important moment for the parents. A lot depended on this surgery. Their son’s whole life could be determined by this moment. Further, they knew that if Aditya’s cleft lip was removed, he would have a chance of being accepted in their society- he would have playmates and probably get love from everyone. They too would slowly be welcomed back into their families and not treated with scorn anymore.
They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Aditya after the surgery. The cleft lip was gone and was replaced by a beautiful smile. His mother couldn’t hold back her tears. “This is a miracle!” she exclaimed, “it’s as if God himself has sent us his blessing, seeing our suffering.”