Rikta Ghoshal was born into a very poor family in Bolpur, in West Bengal. Her family had gone through many struggles and financial difficulties. Even on the health front, things did not look too good for them. Rikta’s mother suffered from polio which made working difficult for her, adding to the financial strain of the family.
While Rikta’s birth brought her parents immense joy, unfortunately the baby was born with a cleft lip. It worried the family, especially because she was a girl, for whom having a perfect spotless face or conventionally beautiful features mattered a lot.
In 2005, we did a medical mission camp at Bolpur. It was here that we met Rikta for the first time. She was 6 years old then, bright and brave. We did her first corrective cleft surgery. While that helped, not everything was solved.
Four years later, in 2009, we were back in Bolpur doing our next mission. Rikta was 10 then. It was a difficult process for someone still so young, but Rikta remained brave and joyous as we did her cleft palate surgery. It was another 5 years before Rikta could undergo her final stage of the process- a cleft lip surgery.
Rikta had been around doctors and medical institutions since she was a small child. It was therefore not a surprise to anyone when she decided that she wanted to spend her life helping others. Her dedication, persistance, and passion paid off and she is now back in the same medical institutions, except now, she’s a nurse, brightening up the dull and gloomy days of the patients by her radiant smile.