The following is an article from the 'Thainy – Thailand Blog' from April 7, 2010
"Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, today received six Tata Nano cars at the hands of Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons, for the hospitals it supports in India.
Mr. Tata ceremoniously handed over the keys to Smile Train surgeons from throughout India, in the presence of Smile Train’s Co-Founder and President, Mr. Brian Mullaney, Smile Train India Regional Director, Mr. Satish Kalra, the Vice Chairman of Tata Motors, Mr. Ravi Kant, and dignitaries.
The Nanos will be used by the recipient hospitals to raise awareness for the devastating problem of clefts and the simple procedure, which can correct it, which Smile Train provides for free to any child in need. Already recognisable on the roads because of their innovative design and style, the new Smile Train Nanos display dramatic before and after pictures of children who have been helped, providing a simple message that clefts are easily correctable.
In India, SmileTrain started with a unique idea of empowering local doctors to help children with clefts in their own communities. Now in its tenth year, SmileTrain works with 400 selfless local surgeons in 180 partner hospitals in India and helps over 50,000 Indian children a year, smile for the first time. In ten years, the organisation has helped over 200,000 Indian children.
Children with clefts are forced to live a life of shame and isolation, believing that a cleft is a curse from God. A simple, 45 minute surgery that costs as little as Rs. 12,000 can change a child’s life forever, allowing them to attend school, eventually get a job, and get married. This compelling transformation has been evocatively captured in Smile Pinki, the Oscar-winning Best Short Documentary of 2009.
In addition to creating a new model of working directly with local surgeons, Smile Train completely revolutionised the way clefts were treated throughout the world by utilising cutting-edge technology. To help even more children more efficiently and effectively, the organisation has employed techniques such as the creation of the world’s largest cleft database and has developed award-winning virtual surgery DVD’s to train doctors in remote areas of the world.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Brian Mullaney, said, “These tiny cars will have a huge impact in alleviating the suffering of desperately poor children and their families throughout India. They will have the highest ‘Smiles Per Gallon’ rating of any car on the road.”
The six Tata Nanos will be used by Astha Plastic Surgery Hospital at Jalgaon (Maharashtra), Sant Parmanand Hospital at Delhi, Varun Hospital, Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), New Leelamani Hospital at Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Dev Kamal Hospital, Ranchi (Jharkhand), and Dr. Jeyasekharan Centre for Cleft Care Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu).
ABOUT SMILE TRAIN
Smile Train is the world’s leading cleft charity with thousands of partners and programs in 76 of the world’s poorest countries. Our mission is to help the millions of children in developing countries who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. We provide free cleft surgery to children from poor families that give children not just a new smile, but a new life. Now in its tenth year, Smile Train has helped over 580,000 children. "
This past year Smile Train completed 45,0000 surgeries in India. Next year, in conjunction with our 183 partner hospitals, we are hoping to perform over 49,000 surgeries. In addition, we are in our third cycle of the India Smile Grant program. This year, we have 73 participating hospitals and will distribute $125,986 to some of our poorest patients and their families.
In the coming months several screenings of the documentary Smile Pinki will take place across India. We are very excited to bring this Oscar winning film back to where it was created!
Celebrating our 10 year anniversary, Smile Train will help more than 500,000 children all over the world receive free, life changing cleft surgery. Over this same decade Smile Train has helped more than 100,000 children in India, giving them a new smile and a second chance at life. Completing 40,000 more surgeries this year than last year, Smile Train partners with 184 local hospitals. The goal for 2009 is to help 50,000 poor children in India and create 160 new partner hospitals.
In a real-world fairy tale, and for one special moment at the 2009 Academy Awards, amidst hundreds of A-list stars, all eyes were on Pinki, the 8-year-old subject of the documentary SMILE PINKI, as her film won the Oscar for best documentary short. The captivating story of a desperately poor little girl in rural India whose life is magically transformed when she receives free surgery to correct her cleft lip highlights the work of American charity Smile Train, a charity devoted to providing free cleft palate/cleft lip surgery to children in 76 developing countries around the world. The free surgery and related treatment that The Smile Train sponsors are performed by local medical teams in local hospitals in developing countries. This “teach a man to fish” strategy builds in-country capacity while helping very poor but very proud communities become self-sufficient, one smile at a time.
For more on Smile Train and the best documentary short Smile Pinki, visit: www.smiletrain.org <http://www.smiletrain.org>
In 9 years, Smile Train has helped more than 129,000 children in India, giving them a new smile and a second chance at life. Completing 10,000 more surgeries this year than last year, Smile Train partners with 184 local hospitals. The goal for 2009 is to help 50,000 poor children in India and create 160 new partner hospitals.
The Smile Train is dedicated to helping the millions of poor children in the world who suffer from cleft lip and palate through free surgery and free training for doctors. The free surgery and related treatment that The Smile Train sponsors are performed by local medical teams in local hospitals in developing countries. This “teach a man to fish” strategy builds in-country capacity while helping very poor but very proud communities become self-sufficient, one smile at a time.
In 8 years, The Smile Train has helped more than 93,500 children in India, giving them a new smile and a second chance at life. The Smile Train partners with 121 local hospitals and its goal for this year is to help 45,000 poor children in India.
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