"Born with a cleft lip in an impoverished family, the first few years of Pinki's life were spent in abject unhappiness. Every one used to tease her, they used to call her hothkati -- the girl with the torn lip. "I used to think that she would be better off dead. I used to wonder who would marry her? Where would I find the money to pay for her dowry? At school everyone teased her. At home, family and friends talked about her as if she was a freak," says Mr Sonkar [her father]. Pinki's life took a turn for the better when she was spotted by a social worker. Dr Subodh Kumar Singh is the plastic surgeon at the GS Memorial hospital in Varanasi who carried out Pinki's surgery. "Her parents wanted her lip to be fixed from the time she was born, but they had no means. They couldn't afford it. Pinki had grown up to six years, she could see her face in the mirror, and she always wanted it fixed," Dr Singh says. It's difficult to imagine that until a couple of years ago, she had no friends and that she was ostracised and teased. Today, she's the star."This is a great story. And one we need to enable for millions of children afflicted with cleft lip, skin ailments, eye conditions, broken bones, and myriad illnesses and otherwise treatable afflictions. International medical aid organization Smile Train is a key part of the solution, but they and other like-minded organizations need our vital support. There's absolutely no excuse in the modern era for lack-cure anywhere on Earth. View the Smile Pinki trailer... P.S. 22 Feb 2009 Update: Smile Pinki won the Oscar!
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The SmileTrain is quickly approaching its 500,000 free cleft repair in just ten years. The cost of a repair is just $250 because of the generous funding of the board to underwrite all overhead costs so if you donate ALL of your donation is used to fund a smile. I am retired and although times are tough I smile each month as I write the first check to SmileTrain for the pure joy of giving one child a smile.
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