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. "