28 November 2016
The Smile Train – Cleft Surgery 6.12.2011
A gap in the upper lip is called a cleft. This is one of the commonest forms of birth defects among humans. It is estimated that one child in every 700 born are afflicted with this defect.
Any birth defect is tragic and painful. A cleft results in extreme facial deformity. The child is unable to eat or speak properly and often other difficulties, such as hearing impairment accompany a cleft. If untreated the child is left helpless and condemned to lead life as a social outcast. However this is one of the few birth defects that can be easily corrected by surgical repair that could take as little as 45 minutes. Yet due to ignorance and poverty, over 60% clefts remain untreated in poor under developed countries.
The Smile Train is a global charity organization reaching out to millions of children suffering from cleft defects and deformities. The Smile Train began in 1999, with one surgery in China performed by a local medical team, and has since grown into the largest cleft organization in the world. To date, over 2,25,000 surgeries have been sponsored by the Smile Train [the statistics is at the time of issuance of this stamp]. Its overriding goal is to make safe and quality treatment of cleft lip and palate accessible free of cost to millions of children in developing countries who can not afford it. The charity operates only with local doctors, and tries to bring to self-sufficiency through free training and education.
The Smile Train has already trained more than 1100 doctors, and sponsored more than 1,60,000 surgeries in India [the statistics is at the time of issuance of this stamp]. The aim of the Smile Train is not just to put smiles on the faces of kids that have never known one, but to give them a second chance in life.