After Surgery, Teased No More

Hussain beforeHussain after

Lahore, Pakistan—When five-year-old Hussain’s mother first looked at him when he was born she got faint, overwhelmed with intense grief. She had finally given birth to a son after two daughters, but Hussain was born with a cleft lip and palate. Because of her intense sorrow, the mother was brought to the hospital, but not the newborn.

As Hussain grew he became the victim of ridicule. Often when relatives visited they would bite their fingers with shock and say, “It is better not to have a son instead of having such an offspring.”

Hussain did not play with other boys in the neighborhood because they all teased him. They would touch his cleft lip and laugh. Besides the teasing, Hussain had trouble eating throughout childhood and could only eat food from one side of his mouth and drink with a spoon.

In the hope of helping as many cleft patients as possible, the Smile Train team from Lahore Cleft Centre happened to visit Hussain’s village and found the little boy. They assured Hussain and his parents that he could receive operations to fix both his lip and palate and it would cost the family nothing.

Some neighbors tried to convince Hussain’s father not to let the Smile Train surgeons operate on his son incorrectly telling him, “They will take a muscle flap and flesh from one side of Hussain’s body and will graft it over the lip, which would be risky.” Trusting Smile Train and the surgeons though, Hussain’s father brought his son to Lahore Cleft Centre. The operation was successful and afterwards the staff assured Hussain and his parents that he would never again be an object of jest and fun. He would never again hear: “Oh see! The hole boy is coming.”

Hussain is now a happy little boy and his palate will also be repaired in six months.

Smile of the Week: Adil Raza

Adil Raza, five years old, proudly displays his Smile Train backpack, which he returned to claim four years after his Smile Train surgery.

Adil Raza, five years old, proudly displays his Smile Train backpack, which he returned to claim four years after his Smile Train surgery.


Siliguri, India—Our Smile of the Week, Adil Raza, recieved his Smile Train surgery July 1, 2009 at Anandaloke Hospital in Siliguri, West Bengal, India.
Adil in 2009 before his cleft surgery.

Adil in 2009 before his cleft surgery.

Four years later Adil once again visited the hospital that provided his life changing surgery. His reason for doing so? He wanted a Smile Train backpack, which he saw another child in his village wearing. Adil asked why he had not gotten one after his surgery and the staff jokingly reminded him he was only infant and too small for a school bag then.

Now Adil is ready to begin school with his new backpack. His grandmother says she is very proud of him. She gladly shares that he is smart, speaks well, and gets his way in most things.