In her own words, former Smile Train patient, Tayaba Humayun, explains how her strength and determination helped her overcome various obstacles growing up with a cleft lip and palate, and how these challenges made her the successful person she is today.
How did you first hear about Smile Train?
I first heard about Smile Train when I was operated on by a Smile Train partner surgeon in Peshwar, Pakistan. I was very inspired by the way that the team treated me. The love and care they showed motivated me to keep my determination high and this ultimately helped me in my recovery. Since then I’ve kept myself updated on Smile Train via the Internet.
What was growing up with an unrepaired cleft like?
My parents were puzzled as this was a totally new situation for them to deal with, being their first child. Growing up, my unrepaired cleft impacted my communication with others. Except for my parents and close friends, most people had trouble understanding my speech.
The journey of my surgeries started when I was only 7 days old. In 2005, I had my osteotomy surgery which lasted 11 hours and was life changing for me. It greatly improved my looks, and I started loving myself and becoming more confident than ever. But there was still more work to be done.
A few years later, I had my first palate repair and first rhinoplasty. Almost instantly people began to notice changes in my speech. My family and friends’ kind words of encouragement made me forget all the pains of the surgery. Throughout my life my parents have been my biggest supporters. They never let me down, and they always gave me hope, strength, and determination in my life.
What are you up to now?
I take it as a challenge when people doubt my abilities and it has motivated me to show them that I can do it. People used to ask me if I was even capable of studying. I have completed my Bachelors in Computer Science, and am currently enrolled in receiving MBA at the University of Peshawar. Besides studies, I am working full time as an IT Implementation Officer. I am also serving as a Social Media Ambassador for Smile Train and recently joined the National Youth Assembly as a member.
What does the Power Of A Smile mean to you?
A smile is the greatest power that anyone can have. It’s a life changing phenomena. Your smile can do miracles that no magic in the world can do. Every day I start my day with the aim of spreading smiles to others. Although it took countless efforts to make my smile perfect, in return these efforts contributed to letting me bring smiles to others’ faces.
My advice to any child who is dealing with a cleft lip and palate issue is that no one can undermine you besides you yourself. No hurdle can stop you in achieving your dreams if you have commitment and dedication. So go ahead and prove yourself to the world. I assure you then the world is yours.