Amritsar, Punjab, India — 55 years is a long time to wait for any surgery, let alone for one that could repair your cleft. Mohan Singh knows that all too well.
When he was born with a cleft lip, Mohan’s family took him to a local baba, an elder wise-man, to seek out help. The baba told them to not have Mohan’s lip operated upon — that it was likely due to past sins in another life. He also instructed the family that Mohan should never get married. The superstitions that this baba instilled upon the family, robbed Mohan of a normal life. When they grew up, his five brothers married and raised families, while Mohan was forbidden to do the same. When a social worker told him about Smile Train, he was overjoyed with the possibility, but saddened by all that he had missed in life.
A few days later, Dr. Ravi Mahajan of Amandeep Hospital, repaired Mohan’s cleft lip. After the surgery, Dr. Mahajan’s team asked Mohan if he would participate in a press conference on the dangers of superstitions. He gladly accepted so that others would be able to have their surgery at a young age and not have to go through the pain and isolation that he had: Mohan’s gift to others with cleft as he starts his life anew.