Elina Smiles Again – A ‘Smile Story’ from 14th Intl Mission of GC4

Parents of kids born with cleft lip and/or palate deformities regularly visit Mission Smile’s Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre (GC4) with their little ones. We offer free medical evaluation, advice treatment, a guide to needy beneficiaries through our nutrition program. Mission Smile also conducts free cleft rectification surgeries for the selected beneficiaries. Moreover, we conduct follow-up (review) camps to track the surgery recipients’ progress. In a word, at GC4, we provide comprehensive cleft care to patients from the northeastern states.

In our  14th International Cleft Surgery Mission, conducted in 2018, we met Elina. She is a 5-year-old baby girl from Sonapur in Assam, born with a cleft lip. The cheerful and sweet baby is the youngest of her 5 elder siblings. While enquiring about her parent’s background, we realised that Elina’s mother married at 14 (an under-age marriage). But that’s not all; due to mounting social obligations, she married a man who was almost 25 years older than her! Now, in a family of seven members, both the parents had to work hard to earn their daily bread. Elina’s father works as a manual labour while her mother is a vegetable vendor.

When Elina was born, her mother became inconsolable after seeing her baby’s cleft deformity. She had never seen a cleft child before! Her initial discomfort about Elina’s cleft deformity affected the mother-child bond.  However, gradually love took over fear, and she accepted her baby’s condition. Misfortune showed up yet again when the lactating mother got scabies. She was not able to feed her new-born! But like it is said, “time heals and makes a person stronger”. Elina’s mother became determined for the treatment of her daughter after her recovery. She brought Elina to Guwahati Medical College, and from there, the medical team referred her to GC4. The doctors at GC4 selected Elina for cleft rectification surgery. However, they deferred her surgery date as she was having scabies too.

Finally, after recovery from scabies, Elina received the surgery during our 14th International Cleft Surgery Mission. It was perhaps the brightest day for Elina and her mother. The little angel embraced her ‘new smile’!

We thank our staff, volunteers, donors and supporters, whose contribution and determination to ‘do good’ helped us in gifting little Elina with a smile for a lifetime!

You, too, can help us open another ‘Smile Story’ for someone like Elina.

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