Mission Smile

Focus: Health, Children and Youth

A CLEFT lip is a deformity that scars both the child and the parents, especially when poverty excludes their access to care. By providing free surgeries for all cleft conditions Mission Smile transform lives.

Take little Ronik, for example, who was born with a cleft lip and palate and could not be breast-fed like a normal child. Instead, his 19-year-old mother, Sutapa, had to use droppers and straws to try and ease his hunger pangs.

Children born with cleft lip have an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. With cleft palate a child has an opening in the roof of the mouth that goes up into the nose.

Some children, like Ronik, are born with both and face difficulties in eating, speaking, drinking and even breathing at times. It can also result in frequent ear infections. They face cruel ridicule and are socially ostracised because of the way they look.

His father Manik, who earns Rs2,500 as a farmer in the Nadia district of West Bengal, could hardly afford the Rs 30,000 cost of corrective surgery - despite his son’s condition putting a terrible strain on his marriage.

It was only when Ronik was 11 months old and came to know that Mission Smile offered free surgery and comprehensive cleft care, that his parents had hope for the future of their only child. Once the operation was successfully completed, the couple were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude - just like the parents and families of more than 25,000 other children who have received corrective surgeries from Mission Smile in India.

It is estimated that one in 700 children in India is born with a cleft deformity - thought to be the result of malnutrition in the mother, genetic malformation or marriage between blood relatives.

Mission Smile believe corrected cleft deformities can greatly reduce physical and emotional scarring and help the child lead a normal, healthy life and tap into their full potential.

This also changes family dynamics - from being embarrassed about their child’s deformity and feeling socially excluded and alone, post op the parents relationship with their child becomes more nourishing and positive.

As Anupama Bordoloi from the interiors of the Morigaon district of Assam said after her son Rishi was given the full Mission Smile treatment in May 2017: “Life is so much better after Rishi’s surgery. I have started to socialize again.”

To continue free surgeries and expand their operations, Mission Smile need your support.

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Nutrition Programmes

INFANTS with clefts have difficulty breastfeeding and eating. Exacerbated by poverty, this often results in malnourishment. Due to low weight and poor immune system, these children are unable to receive surgeries and the cycle continues. To address this, Mission Smile regularly conduct programmes to identify, evaluate and monitor the severity of malnutrition in children with clefts and refer extreme cases to nutrition rehabilitation centres - and 700 have undergone surgeries till date.

Cleft care centres

MISSION Smile have tied up with 10 hospitals in India to serve the needy cleft children in their region. Accredited medical surgeons and anaesthetists have performed over 8,600 free operations on previously screened young patients at these centres. Mission Smile also run and manage a Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre in tie-up with the Assam government at Guwahati, which has now become a centre of excellence in cleft care and research in India, having provided close to 17,000 surgeries.


MISSIONS planned and set up in specific areas are the organisation’s primary mode of intervention. Though short term, they serve a large number of children born with orofacial clefts. Volunteers and experts both from India and abroad spend 10 days in carefully chosen locations to conduct medical assessments and surgeries. Post-operative check-ups to ensure proper recovery are also part of this programme. Till date 90 medical missions have been conducted, treating 5641 children.

About Mission Smile

The innocence of those little ones made me feel sad as to why they have to suffer so much, although their smiles were still the most beautiful. A simple surgery of 45 minutes can change a life once and for all.

Megha Damani, volunteer, Kolkata

It has been a very good experience, maybe the experience of a life time. I would like to volunteer whenever and wherever I get a chance to help smoothen the process of bringing ‘smiles' to the children and adults.

Shraddha Singh, volunteer, Kolkata

It is difficult for us to imagine the transformation this simple surgery brings to their lives. For us it is only a visual thing but in their case it is a life changing event.

Raj Khosla, donor and volunteer, Kolkata

I deeply appreciate the service that Mission Smile and its team of medical volunteers are able to put together and Apeejay Trust is happy to support their efforts.

Priya Paul, Apeejay Trust, Kolkata

Our association has brought a new dimension to CSR where as funders we are actively involved, engaging staff for outreach and patient connectivity. Sharing our resources for a cause is a wonderful experience, especially when the impact is perceptible.

Thomas Muthoot, Executive Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group, Trivandrum

  • Shivaji Samaddar Chief Operating Officer
  • Dalip Pande Director, Partnerships & Fundraising
  • Anupam Sarkar Manager, Partnerships & Fundraising
  • Rathindra Das Executive, Partnerships & Fundraising