* More than 10,000 cleft affected children and their families from resource poor communities will directly benefit from this partnership.
Ashraya Hastha Trust, a Bangalore based charitable organization funded by Infosys’ Co-Founder K. Dinesh and his family and Smile Train India, the country’s largest cleft focused NGO have announced a five-year partnership with an aim to boost the cleft care ecosystem in India. Ashraya Hastha Trust will support 10,000 cleft surgeries, five capacity building trainings and safety medical equipment at Smile Train treatment centers across seven states to include Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir.
The partnership was launched with an event at Smile Train’s treatment partner, CHL Hospitals at Indore in the presence of Ms. Asha Dinesh, Trustee, Ashraya Hastha Trust, hospital cleft team, Smile Train officials, cleft patients and families.
"We have worked closely with Smile Train India in the past and are completely aligned with their efforts to support safe cleft treatment across the country. Their commitment and passion is unparalleled and inspiring,” said Ms. Asha Dinesh, trustee at Ashraya Hastha Trust. "The consequences faced by children with clefts, if not treated on time, are profound and often enduring. I have been a part of the cleft journey as my daughter Divya was born with a cleft. With proper treatment, she leads a normal life today as a successful woman entrepreneur. I empathize with mothers who may not have access to the care their children need to live healthy and full lives. With this partnership, we intend to work together to better facilitate safe, quality cleft care for children in need. We hope that we can collectively work towards making healthcare affordable and accessible and influence all the ecosystem stakeholders to make policy level changes so that no child with cleft is ever left behind ”
Speaking at the launch, Dr Jaideep Chauhan, Maxillofacial Surgeon and Smile Train Project Director at CHL Hospitals, Indore said, “We at CHL Hospital, with support from Smile Train India have managed to perform surgeries thus far. We are truly grateful to the additional support that Ashraya Hastha Trust has extended and we hope to continue our journey with cleft warriors diligently.The medical equipments, trainings and support that Smile Train and Ashraya Hastha Trust have provided us with is phenomenal and we hope to put it all to best use. Our aim is to ensure safe surgeries, promising forever smiles to children”
In India, an estimated 35,000 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or palate every year, and hundreds of thousands of children with untreated clefts live in isolation and face difficulties with eating, breathing, hearing and speaking. The partnership will focus on supporting cleft treatment in the seven identified states, while also strengthening safety and best practices in cleft care.
Mamta Carroll, Smile Train’s Senior Vice President & Regional Director for Asia, expressed her gratitude towards Ashraya Hastha Trust and their dedication towards the cause. She said, "Facilitating free, safe and quality cleft treatment is Smile Train India’s priority. With this prestigious partnership, we hope to continue supporting cleft surgeries by enabling underprivileged children born with clefts to live healthy and productive lives. We aim to strengthen our local cleft ecosystem and reach children in some of the most remote regions of the country."
About Smile Train India
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. Since 2000, Smile Train India has supported more than 650,000 free cleft surgeries across India, through a network of 150+ partner hospitals. To learn more about how Smile Train's India’s sustainable approach, please visit smiletrainindia.org.
About Ashraya Hastha Trust
Ashraya Hastha Trust was founded in May 2000 by Maj. (Retd)S. Nanjundiah in Bangalore along with founding trustees Mr. K.Dinesh (Infosys co-founder) and Mrs. Asha Dinesh (Women entrepreneur promoting vegan beauty products), with the primary purpose of helping the poor and needy, mainly in the areas of education and Rural Health Care. With the passage of time, their daughters Mrs Divya and Ms. Deeksha also became the trustees. In the initial years, the trust focused on initiatives in education and health in rural Karnataka. Eventually, the trust expanded its support to varied causes and organizations, from the education of economically backward students to setting up infrastructure or addressing challenges in health systems.
Currently the trust operates in 6 major thematic areas; health, education, livelihoods, animal welfare, disaster relief and management and environment, across India.