The show of responsibility of a brother, who is also of tender age, to correct his sibling’s cleft moved our entire team.
Sarvanan is a ten-year-old boy of a needy family who lives in a village in the kalakuruchi district of Tamil Nadu. He is the fourth of the seven children of his family. He studies in class four. The boy is courageous and studious. He got admitted to the school all by himself. Three of his other siblings have died due to malnourishment and unknown reasons.
Eventually, Sarvanan had cleft lips since his birth. Sarvanan’s parents never even thought of rectifying the cleft when he was a little boy because his superstitious father considered the cleft to be a cause of blessing for the family. Also, with a meagre income of a wage labourer in the crop fields, the parents couldn’t avail the rectification for Sarvanan’s cleft lip. They could not bear the cost of the rectification. Added to the abject poverty, Sarvanan’s parents have their difficulties too. The mother has a hearing problem and can not attend to the children properly. Also, the father drinks too much alcohol and is little concerned about his children’s progress.
As usual with the cleft child, Sarvanan grew up in the community feeling aloof and ostracised. He could not mingle and play with his classmates or his community’s children. He was called “mooly” or “the cursed one” in Tamil. This made the sensitive boy recoil from society and suffer from depression.
Mission Smile came to know about Sarvanan and approached the family to rectify Sarvanan’s cleft lips twice before. However, the aggressive father, who believed the cleft to be a blessing for the family, drove the volunteers away. So, Sarvanan’s ordeal seemed to be a never-ending one, and he remained in his gloom.
But this time, Sarvanan got lucky. Karthik is now nineteen years old and is an earning member of the family. He works in a bakery and takes care of his mother and three siblings. The Mission Smile volunteers met Karthik and convinced him to get a free cleft surgery for Sarvanan. Karthik understood the surgery’s importance and knew that only the cleft rectification could bring his brother’s fresh hopes. He agreed to bring Sarvanan to the Mission Smile hospital at Puducherry to correct the cleft lips.
Travelling 150 km, Karthik brought his younger sibling Sarvanan to the New Medical Center at Puducherry along with ASHA workers. Doctors from Mission Smile screened him and found him fit for the cleft surgery.
Sarvanan got his cleft lips operated by one of the renowned surgeons who volunteered from Chennai. Dr Shaktivel and the Anaesthesia providers Dr Deepak Dhummansure from Karnataka and Dr Beulah IIango from Chennai, were in the operation team. The post-operative care was attended by Dr Pradeep Reddy, who volunteered from Hyderabad during the Puducherry Mission.
Sarvanan’s lip is now corrected after surgery, and a beautiful smile lingers on his face. None can call him cursed now. His brother and Mission Smile team have saved him from his ordeal.
Mission Smile has changed the life of Sarvanan, and we wish him all success in life. However, thousands of Sarvanan in the country are awaiting such a chance. They also do not have the provision to get their cleft rectified. We can reach them and do the best only with your continued support and donations. Donate to gift a smile to the deserving.