Vimla: Finally smiling after 25 years

One of the tragic realities of cleft care in the developing world is delayed treatment. When clefts are repaired early in life, treatment can quickly shift into areas like speech therapy and psychosocial support, both of which facilitate social adjustment. We recently heard about a Smile Train patient named Vimla, who lived with an unrepaired cleft for 25 years. Her story, as told by her parents, is an account of how difficult it can be to adjust to life as an adult with a cleft.

6 years back we got her married to a man in a neighboring village. She got married at a late age of 19 years because she had a [cleft] lip. After marriage my son in law was always insulting my daughter which made my wife and myself very sad. We feared that her in laws may even turn her out of their house and send her back to us. Wherever the married couple went in the relations they were directly or indirectly insulted and ridiculed. Vimla’s husband slowly got fed up by repeated taunts and insults and he started beating and manhandling her off an on. Vimla did not become a mother because of their marital discord. One day her husband dropped her at our house. He told us either to get her to normal appearance or let her stay with us forever.

One fine day our neighbor noticed Smile Train sponsored vehicle of Alok Hospital, Kota in their village Pipliya. I contacted the team members of Alok Hospital and informed of a camp for free surgery of Cleft lip and Palate being organized at Atru.

My daughter Vimla was selected to be operated the very same day of the camp. Her Cleft lip and Cleft nose were operated in two separate operations and she returned home after staying in Alok Hospital for five days. We did not spend a single rupee from the Atru Camp till we returned back to our village.

Our daughter Vimla and ourselves are extremely happy and thankful to Dr. Alok Garg and Smile Train and looking forward for a new happy life.

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