A smiling child brings smile to the faces of his/her parents. But what if the innocent smiles get eclipsed by cleft lip and cleft palate? All the aspirations of the parents surrounding their child can seem like a distant dream!
We met Pradeep Yadav, a 30 year old man, during our Vadodara Mission who was suffering from the very visible deformity of cleft since birth. After being interviewed by Krishna Shah, our volunteer, we came to know about the hardships and challenges that Pradeep faced all throughout his childhood. Due to poverty and unavailability of proper help and guidance, he could not treat his cleft. But he was literally broken to find his little daughter Shrashti too was affected with bilateral cleft lip.
Shrashti’s birth was the best as well as the hardest day for her parents – Pradeep and Reema (Pradeep’s wife). Although having encountered similar hardships with cleft, Pradeep (father of Shrashti) had no idea of how to get this deformity treated. However, their family and the community stood by them during their tough times. They not only supported the unfortunate parents but also motivated them. Pradeep said that it is due to the encouragement of his family and their neighbours that he could decide on the treatment of cleft for himself as well as his daughter.
Shrashti’s mother (Reena) narrated that she was unable to breast feed her daughter due to cleft. The little girl used to get lost in her wonder world of toys and fairy-tales which could only temporary divert her from the sufferings of cleft. It seemed that each day her life was cursed and the parents always wished for her better future and an independent life.
With a monthly income of Rs. 8000 only, it was almost impossible for them to bear the hefty expenses of cleft surgeries. It was then that they came to know about our mission of free cleft surgeries at Vadodara. After travelling almost 400 kms, both Shrashti and her father Pradeep were finally screened and operated successfully on 29th March 2017 at ISHA Hospital, in Vadodara where our Mission was organized in partnership with Muthoot Pappachan Foundation.
The Muthoot Branch Manager Ms. Neeta Christian, counselled the parents and brought them for screening to the ISHA Hospital. Reena was delighted to know that both – Shrashti and Pradeep, could be treated by the mission team and that the surgeries would be free of cost including their travel, hospital stay, food, and the medical aids required before and after the procedure.
On their visit to our mission they felt comforted when, they encountered several families who were facing similar challenges. The day after their surgery, we could spot instant happiness on the smiling faces of the father and daughter. It felt to them as if they were reborn with a new smile.