Brings smiles back to 1,000 underprivileged children in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, West Bengal & Odisha
India CSR News Network
MUMBAI: The noble mission of changing the plight of socially challenged ‘special’ children with cleft lip disorders is gaining momentum. Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, the philanthropy division of the 130-year old corporate conglomerate Muthoot Pappachan Group, has achieved a major milestone by facilitating 1,000 free cleft lip surgeries for poor and underprivileged children under the SMILE PLEASE mission. Little Umaira, the 1 year and 2 months old girl child from Cuddalore underwent the 1,000th surgery at Pondicherry.
SMILE PLEASE, the flagship CSR programme of Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, facilitates free comprehensive surgery for lip and palate cleft patients, in partnership with Mission Smile, a medical charity expert organisation in providing cleft care. This initiative has brought the smile back to the faces of 1,000 children in the last two and half years through correctional surgeries in Kerala, Tamil Nadu Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, West Bengal and Odisha.
Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman & Managing Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group, said, “Our dream is a Cleft Free India! It’s unfortunate that growing instances of cleft deformity have plagued many Indian children, who are suffering from social stigma and functional challenges with life-threatening impact. Muthoot Pappachan Foundation is actively involved with comprehensive cleft care surgery missions across India in terms of creating grass root level awareness, fighting misconceptions and patient development in physical, psychological, educational, social and vocational spheres.”
He added, “Muthoot Pappachan Group employees in over 3,800 retail branches of Muthoot Fincorp Ltd. and over 900 branches of Muthoot Microfin Ltd. have been sensitized to help affected sections of society. All branches have been coordinating with social pockets like Panchayats, Anganwadis, Schools, NGOs, Hospitals, Associations, Clubs, etc. to identify cleft patients and extend support to them. We are committed to the cause of changing their lives as they overcome their functional challenges through corrective surgeries, they set forth for a new life with enhanced confidence.”
Worldwide more than 1 crore people have clefts of lip and palate and in India it is as high as 1.43 for every 1,000 births. Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial and oral deformities that occur very early in pregnancy, while the foetus is developing inside the mother. The cause of clefting is multifactorial and has genetic, nutritional and other components which leads to this disorder. If not properly cared, children with clefts can have numerous health issues such as malnutrition, feeding problems, stunting, choking, infection as well as speech, hearing and nasal breathing difficulties leading to social and psychological problems. According to a study conducted during the Missions, 67% of patients who received surgeries are children below 15 years in which 30% are infants and toddlers belonging to 0-3 years. 80% of patients’ parents are labourers (mostly farmers/ mason/ driver/ other daily wage labourers etc.). In total, 89% of total patient families are below Rs. 10,000 of monthly income.
Mission Smile, a not-for-profit organization, has so far has successfully conducted 29,000+ CLP surgeries in India. Muthoot Pappachan Foundation joined hands with Mission Smile from July 2014 and started offering free cleft surgeries and allied supportive service to children with congenital cleft issues. Dedicated Missions have been undertaken at specific locations across 8 States so far and now it is being extended to other states also where the Muthoot Pappachan Group has its business operations.
Mission Smile organizes Medical missions (camps) in various locations to provide free cleft care surgeries to poor and needy patients. Medical, non-medical volunteers from India and abroad are joining hands for the cause of clefts under the auspices of this organisation. The resources and medical expertise of MISSION SMILE coupled with the efforts from Muthoot Pappachan Group in field outreach and connectivity to rural areas gave a different face to Comprehensive Cleft Care in the Country, through the project – SMILE PLEASE. The free program includes all medicines, speech therapy, food for the family, travel supports, follow up services, etc.