Imagine a life without a smile. In India, 35,000 babies are born with cleft lip and palate every year. Due to lack of awareness and financial constraints, most of these children are deprived of getting the right treatment. Himalaya Lip Care, through its social impact initiative, “Muskaan”, is bringing back the smiles of children suffering from cleft. Through their campaign, “Ek Nayi Muskaan”, Himalaya Lip Care is giving children a second shot at leading life confidently. It is a step to raise awareness about cleft lip and palate and supporting free cleft treatment for underprivileged children, in partnership with the international cleft charity, Smile Train.
“Ek Nayi Muskaan” is a heart-warming story of eight-year-old Munmun, who lives in a small village near Lucknow. She dreams of going to school, playing with friends, and living a fulfilling life like any other child. However, her untreated cleft lip has kept her in hiding. Even in her dreams, she can’t think of herself without a cleft, and hence imagines wearing a mask to fulfil her aspirations. The film captures the transformational journey of Munmun, as she receives her life-changing cleft surgery. You can watch her journey below:
The film has been directed by Rahul Bharti of Roadrunner productions, and the song has been sung by renowned actor and singer, Raghuvir Yadav.
“Through our partnership with Smile Train, ‘Muskaan’ aims to help raise awareness about cleft and ensure that more children receive the cleft care they need at a younger age. A smile is an expression of happiness, and with ’Ek Nayi Muskaan’, we intend to create more smiles by helping children achieve their dreams and live a fulfilling life. This initiative reflects our overall brand thought – ’Khush Raho Khushaal Raho’ that captures our vision of ‘Wellness in every home, Happiness in every heart’,” said Mr. Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Business Director-Consumer Products Division, The Himalaya Drug Company.
Highlighting the need to generate awareness around cleft, Ms. Mamta Carroll, Vice President and Regional Director, Asia, Smile Train, said, “In India, more than 35,000 babies are born with a cleft every year, and around 6,000 are from Uttar Pradesh alone. Children with clefts not only live in isolation due to various myths and superstitions that exist in our country, but more importantly, face difficulty in eating, breathing, and speaking. With support from our individual donors and organizations like The Himalaya Drug Company, these surgeries are taking place absolutely free of cost at Smile Train’s local partner hospitals. We are proud to be partnering with Himalaya as a part of this noble initiative and look forward to supporting many smiles together.”
Unveiling the film, Ali Fazal said, “Children are pivotal to our future, and there should be nothing that deprives them of true happiness. ’Muskaan’, the initiative of bringing forever smiles to children with clefts is an important and necessary cause that ensures a bright future for the children as well as their families. I am extremely happy and lucky to be a part of this journey of spreading happiness and smiles.”
Through the Muskaan initiative, more than 500 children have received free cleft surgeries till date. Himalaya Lip Care is committed to furthering this cause and helping spread awareness so more children receive early cleft care treatment. Himalaya contributes towards Muskaan with the sale of every Himalaya Lip Care product.
Cleft lip and/or palate is a birth defect, which occurs when certain facial tissues do not fuse properly during foetal development. Globally, one in every 700 babies is born with a cleft. In India, it is estimated that more than 35,000 children are born with clefts, annually. While the incidence of cleft is related to the density of population, Uttar Pradesh alone sees about 6,000 births with cleft defects annually.
Children with untreated clefts not only live in isolation, but more importantly, face physical difficulties with eating, breathing, and speaking, and are prone to frequent ENT infections. Less than 50% of children with clefts get treatment due to ignorance and poverty in India. They face social isolation and many drop out of school due to speech-related learning problems, which in turn leads to a loss of employment opportunities.
Cleft surgery is safe and the transformation is immediate. Since 1999, Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local doctors and hospitals across India to provide 100% free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. As a result, Smile Train has surpassed its one-millionth smile globally.