Free Cleft Surgery for 400 Poor Children in India

Jul 27, 2010

Cleft Lip & Palate Centre Site Visit

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who visited our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On June 15th he visited the Smile Train Cleft Lip and Palate Centre at Meenakshi Mission Hospital in Madurai. His “Postcard” from the visit:

Smile Train and Meenakshi provide totally free surgeries to those with cleft lip, palate and other facial birth defects in southern India. This includes transport—a prohibitive expense for many which is often overlooked.

I spoke with a mother holding her baby who had just recently undergone the surgery. She said when the baby was born everyone in her family cried. According to the staff at the hospital, the biggest challenge they face is educating the parents—convincing them that the birth defect was not the result of the “sin of the parents”. The woman said, “they’re not crying now.” She and her husband are day laborers, and would not have been able to otherwise afford the surgery.

I also spoke with a 21-year-old who had arrived by bus from 2.5 hours away. She had gone to one of the camps the Centre puts on in communities in the region and had come in a few days previous to get surgery performed on her cleft palate. She showed off the results and said she’d come back for speech therapy.

Judging by the Smile Train partner I met with in Manila (, the center could be able to do more surgeries so further support would hopefully help the Centre expand its reach.

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Project Leader

Adina Wexelberg-Clouser

Donor Relations Associate
New York, New York United States

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