A Whole Little World in Mohammad and Maryam’s Hands

July 8, 2020 | Smile Train

Mohammad and Maryam had never seen a cleft before their daughter was born and felt overwhelmed by the care she would require. But they were determined to provide her everything she needed — she was the little sun around which they joyfully revolved, so they named her Kainat, which means “my whole world” in Urdu.

Kainat before cleft surgery

Kainat’s cleft caused her to choke on breast milk, putting her at severe risk of death from malnutrition. Their neighbors offered no comfort, as many wrongly blamed Kainat’s cleft on a lunar eclipse that occurred while Maryam was pregnant.

Maryam holds Kainat

Some relatives even encouraged them to let Kainat starve, thinking she was unlikely to survive long anyway. Each cruel comment caused Mohammad and Maryam tremendous pain, making an already traumatic situation almost unbearably worse. But they refused to give up on their daughter.

Dr. Ijaz holds Kainat before her cleft surgery

When Kainat caught an infection that made it difficult for her to breathe, Mohammad and Maryam rushed her to the hospital. The staff told them Kainat was eligible to receive all the cleft care she would ever need at no cost to the family, as Pakistan Cleft Lip and Palate Association (PCLAPA), was a Smile Train partner. For the first time, Mohammad and Maryam could make out a shimmering star of hope on the horizon and a real future for their daughter.

Dr. Ijaz smiles with Kainat after her cleft surgery

The family didn’t know what to expect from a hospital providing free surgeries at first, but Maryam was immediately impressed. “The facility immediately reminded me of the ultra-modern hospitals in Dubai, where I grew up,” she said. A moment later, Dr. Ijaz Bashir, PCLAPA’s founder, greeted them and assured them that his team would be by their side for every step of Kainat’s journey toward a complete healing from her cleft.

Kainat smiling after cleft surgery

That was six years and four Smile Train-sponsored surgeries ago. Today, Mohammad and Maryam give hope to other parents in need by directing them to Smile Train and PCLAPA and Kainat is a happy, healthy girl whose smile lights up the entire world.


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