Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Smile Train

Smile Train is a non profit organization that provides free cleft surgery to poor children throughout the world. I came to know about them while listening to a Toastmasters speech on Youtube. Wanting to know more about it, I landed to their website. I came to know that a $250 donation could pay for an operation that would transform a child from this:

to this:

Bhavani from India(Read her story)

And I dont think there is any nobler way to spend $250.

Some quick facts:

***Has performed 1,90,000 cleft repair surgeries till now.
***Covers 71 of the world's poorest countries.
***100% of all donations from the public goes towards programs that help children.

Now the fascinating part of the story. If those numbers humbled you, the fact that this mammoth task was orchestrated by only a group of 24 motivated individuals, would astound you.

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that the work of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This is a befitting example of what she said.

But how did this small bunch of people go about this colossal task all by themselves.

By approaching their problem in a way that is very different than others have thought about it before.

The typical model for cleft repair in developing countries has been to convince U.S. doctors and nurses to volunteer a week’s time, fly to a country, and do 80 surgeries. This turns out to be an expensive way to get the job done, and it also isn’t easy to find doctors to volunteer. Smile Train instead partners with and trains local doctors to do the surgeries, which turns out to be far more efficient.

The fact that the whole of $250 that a donor donates goes to surgery, does a lot of good to the donor's morale.
I remember seeing many grown ups with cleft faces. I never thought that there was an organization that could touch their lives.
So what am i going to do after educating myself about them. The least is keep a donation box for the Smile Train at the reception of my eating joint. This is a charity worth supporting.

They also have created amazing software to teach doctors how to do the surgeries, you’ve got to take a look at it to believe it.


Shiva from India(Read Shiva's story)


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