When 10-year-old Samnang grows up, she hopes to become a doctor.
Her interest stems not only from her passion for studying mathematics in school, but also from the life-changing surgery she received when she was just 3 months old. You see, Samnang, who lives in Cambodia, was born with a cleft.
Cleft births are quite common around the world. In fact, a baby is born with a cleft every three minutes. Clefts affect a lot more than a child’s physical appearance. Children with clefts often have trouble eating, breathing, speaking, and even hearing.
Samnang’s parents weren’t sure how to care for their new baby, but their midwife pointed them toward an organization that could help.
Smile Train is the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, with programs in more than 70 countries. Over their 22-year history, they have helped transform the lives of over 1.5 million children just like Samnang.
Smile Train works by empowering local medical professionals to heal clefts within their own communities. Not only do they help provide resources and support for cleft surgeries, but they also assist families in securing comprehensive cleft care like nutrition programs, orthodontic care, speech therapy, and social and emotional support.
Since Smile Train got involved with Samnang’s treatment plan right away, the infant was able to receive monthly consultations with their medical partners. Her parents learned how to feed her with a special bottle, ensuring she received the proper nutrition to grow strong enough for cleft surgery at just a few months old.
During those early moments, Samnang’s parents were so overwhelmed that they hadn’t even given her a name yet. When her doctor suggested Samnang, which means “lucky,” they knew it suited her perfectly!
The 10-year-old now looks forward to a brighter future thanks to her new smile. She’s excelling in school, and she hopes to someday be in a position to help other children heal so they can thrive, too.
When asked why she wants to be a doctor, her answer was honest and heartfelt: “It’s the best job to have because then I can help other children with clefts, just like me.”
In 2022, InspireMore joined forces with Smile Train as our first-ever “Partner Cause of the Year.” As the web’s leading platform for exclusively positive media, InspireMore has reached over 500 million people worldwide with our positive news and inspirational content. This incredible partnership aims to educate the public about clefts while spreading awareness of the free, life-changing cleft services supported by Smile Train.
It truly takes a village to help children born with clefts around the world! That’s why we are so proud to partner with Smile Train to change lives for children like Samnang, one smile at a time.
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