Sumona had been born with a cleft lip. Her deformity had left her parents and extended family in shock. No one in their family had ever had a disfigurement like this. Everyone worried that this could never be cured.
Their small village in Uluberia seemed like a prison of nightmares for the little girl growing up. While her family never made her feel any less loved, her peers and neighbours made it abundantly clear to her that she was different from them. Her facial flaw was a constant source of a joke for everyone around her. No one left a stone unturned to ridicule the poor child every time she stepped out of the house. The school became a constant reminder of her asymmetrical face.
Sumona suffered from a cold and infection of her nasal passage as a result of her deformity. The poor child felt that she was being constantly punished for no apparent fault of her own. Her mother recalls finding a letter behind the idol of Goddess Laxmi when Sumona was younger. In the letter, Sumona had questioned the Goddess why she was being punished.
It was in these dark hours that her parents found out about cleft surgery from a doctor. They gathered the necessary funds and immediately set off for Kolkata to seek that little ray of hope. But after two, very expensive, surgeries the family could not afford any more operations and Sumona still needed at least three more.
Mission Smile came as a blessing to them during those trying times. We conducted two more free surgeries on her to restore her smile. However, it still did not put an end to her misery. Her mean-spirited classmates in college, and her neighbours, never failed to comment on her still crooked nose. The brave girl, however, put on her favourite gift and smiled through the ordeal.
On 21st October 2019, a smiling Sumona was waiting in the hospital to receive her final surgery. She had been waiting for this day since she received her last surgery when the doctor had told her that her slight nasal disfigurement would be completely eliminated during this surgery. Teary-eyed, Sumona’s mother bubbled over with gratitude at this gift which she considered Goddess Laxmi had sent her daughter’s way after reading her innocent letter. “Mission Smile is my Goddess Laxmi” she quipped before her daughter was carried into the operation theatre.
This Diwali, help us bring Goddess Laxmi’s gift of a smile to many more children. Donate now to restore a child’s hope.