Coping With My Daughter’s Cleft

Tezi BandA

Dehradun, India – Manoj Sagar, whose daughter, Tezi, was born with cleft lip and palate, shares his story of how he initially reacted to his daughter’s cleft, and how Smile Train was able to help him find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

My wife did not see the child, Tezi, immediately after birth as she was exhausted by labor. I was the first person in the family to see that my child was born with a deformity. I was immediately shocked, overwhelmed, and terrified. My hands and feet trembled and my throat became parched. I felt that God had cursed me by giving me such a monstrous child. I did not know what to do.

I was so overcome with sorrow that even when a local doctor informed me about the Himalayan Institute where Smile Train could fix Tezi’s cleft for free I was still in denial that the cleft could be cured. It wasn’t until I saw the transformation with my own eyes through similar patients who underwent surgery at the Himalayan Institute that I had a slight change of heart.

We are lucky because we live only a few minutes from the hospital, so I was able to take Tezi there without any difficulty. After a quick 45-minute surgery that was free of charge I was completely relieved to see my daughter turn from a monstrous child into an angel. Now that the swelling from the surgery has gone down, no one can say that she has ever had a facial deformity. Thanks to Smile Train my darling girl is free to lead a normal life full of self-esteem.

3 thoughts on “Coping With My Daughter’s Cleft

    • On behalf of our Smile Train staff, as well as all of the children we help, thank you for your support and for expressing your concern.

      A full breakdown of our financials can be viewed here: smiletrain.org/about/financials.html

      Information on salaries can also be found on our official 990 and Audit Report.

      You will see that the recent salary listed for a CEO is around $300,000. It is true that we compensate our CEO competitively. While there may be qualified people who would volunteer their time and services for free, it is doubtful that they would be able to do it well over 60 hours a week as is needed. Please note though that our numbers are comparable to, if not better, than our peer international health charities of similar size.

      In our financials you will see that 83.8% of our donations go to our programs. Only 1.7% goes to overhead, which is a necessary allotment in order for our operations to run smoothly and so children with clefts get optimal care. 14.5% was spent on fundraising last fiscal year, as we have found that investing in fundraising helps raise more money, which can be spent on aiding more children with clefts around the world.

      Thank you again for your invaluable support. Please feel free to reach out to us with any additional questions that you may have, or if there’s anything else that we can do for you.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Smile Train

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