This March, Smile Train — the international children’s charity which empowers local medical professionals to provide free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children around the world — is celebrating creating their 500,000th smile in India.
Smile Train has helped children in over 85 developing countries, and have been present in India since 2001. Over this time, Smile Train has helped to give 500,000 Indian children their forever smiles. Smile Train’s sustainable model provides the training and resources to empower local surgeons to provide free cleft repair surgery and the essential treatments needed beyond surgery — such as nutritional support, orthodontic care, dental care, and speech therapy.
From their humble beginnings in India 17 years ago, Smile Train’s local medical partners now perform over 40,000 cleft repair surgeries each year.
In celebration of this ‘Smilestone’, the organization held an event in India on March 6, which was hosted by Bollywood Actress and long-term Smile Train Goodwill Ambassador, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Aishwarya joined 100 doctors and former Smile Train patients, as well as their families, at the event in Bandra, Mumbai, in celebration of the 500,000 cleft repair surgeries that have been undertaken.
Also tying in with this momentous occasion, and to demonstrate the life-changing work carried out within the region, Smile Train has recently launched two new 360° virtual reality videos which offer a glimpse into the world of two Indian children with untreated clefts, Vikas and Nisha. Within the videos, viewers are invited to follow Vikas and Nisha on their cleft journey, as they each receive life-changing surgery and the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.
Smile Train’s virtual reality technology transports viewers into the world of a child living with a cleft in India, making them feel as close to the experience as possible without actually being there. This allows Smile Train to reach people all over the world, helping them to better understand the many challenges that children with untreated clefts are facing — and bring to life the change that Smile Train is driving.
About Smile Train
Smile Train provides free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in developing countries. Through training local doctors and empowering partner hospitals around the world, we advance a sustainable solution and scalable model to treat clefts, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, and speak over time.