The Power of a Smile


Did you know that every year more than 170,000 children are born with cleft lip or palate, and that most can’t afford surgery? It’s a staggering statistic, but, one organization is working to help these children get the simple surgery they need to change these kids’ lives for the better.

Smile Train actually trains local doctors to perform cleft repairs within their own communities, and through this process they gain the skills to help children in other areas.

Smile Train has helped more than one million children in 15 years, it’s such an incredible cause. Below is one story that illustrates the impact of this simple surgery.

INDONESIA—How a Smile Created a Local hero

Two of Natsir’s four children, Alwi and Winner, were born with clefts. After watching them deal with bullying, struggle with eating, and have trouble speaking, he and his wife became convinced their children were being punished for something he and his wife had done.

Natsir also blamed himself for being unable to afford the surgeries his sons needed. He grew up helping his mother in the family garden. Which meant delays in schooling. Graduating university too late to qualify for gainful employment, he stayed in poverty.

But that didn’t stop him from offering home-cooked meals to passersby. Strangers like tourist David Cogswell who, after meeting Natsir’s children, introduced him to Smile Train. His sons were treated by Dr. Senja Adianto and his team, and Natsir became determined to share what he’d learned with those out of Smile Train’s reach.

Today Natsir is an inspiring volunteer who overcomes doubts and concerns by using his own story as an example. Despite his meager income as a farmer and part-time English teacher, Natsir regularly travels to remote areas around his hometown in Indonesia where he persuades families of kids with a cleft to seek help. To date he’s helped 65 patients get cleft repair. Showing how even one person in a small village can make a big difference.

Smile Train has a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Smile Train’s model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in developing countries provide 100%- free cleft repair surgery in their communities. Join us and change the world with the power of a smile.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Smile Train. The opinions and text are all mine.

Crissy Page

Hi, I'm Crissy, the founder and editor of Parent Pretty. I'm a 30-something mom from Ohio who loves photography, my two beautiful children, and Diet Coke. You might recognize me from my main blog, Dear Crissy. You can also find me on Twitter @Crissy.

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