Varanasi, India – Pinki Sonkar, star of the Academy Award® winning film Smile Pinki, traveled with her father for days to receive free cleft lip surgery. After five years of suffering and ostracization, Pinki was given a new life by Dr. Subodh Singh thanks to Smile Train donors. Pinki traveld to Hollywood alongside, her father, Dr. Subodh , and the film’s director Megan Mylan to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. While many girls and boys dream of winning famous movie awards, Pinki only dreamed of going to school and living a normal life. Who says dreams can’t come true?
Pinki’s life has changed dramatically since her surgery: she’s enrolled in school, making friends, and even learning English. Please take a few minutes and watch this clip to see the power a simple surgery can have on an entire family.
We also recently received a surprise visit from the other star of the film, Ghutaru Chauhan. Ghutaru returned to G.S. Memorial Hospital where he recieved his free cleft palate surgery years ago in order to meet with one of the new speech pathologists. Ghutaru is taking his studies on wholeheartedly and even has a tutor to make sure he is caught up with other kids his age. Ghutaru’s cleft palate caused great difficulty with his speech and, like many children who have their cleft palates repaired, he has had to retrain himself to speak properly. He met again with Dr. Subodh and his team as part of a Smile Train pilot initiative for speech pathology, which we hope to be able to bring to all of our partner hospitals. With the help of the speech pathologists, his tutor will be incorporating speech lessons into Ghutaru’s daily activities so that he will be speaking crisply and sharply with ease, like a normal child. When he was asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, Ghutaru didn’t hesitate – he looked right at Dr. Subodh and said, “a doctor.”
For those that haven’t seen the film, request your free copy of Smile Pinki today!
Every day, with the help of our donors, Smile Train creates news smiles and success stories for more than 300 children just like Pinki and Ghutaru.