A Healthy New Smile for Badhon

Badhon smiles at water pump

There’s an old custom in Panthasala, Bangladesh, which dictates that everyone in town must visit the homes of new parents to welcome the new babies into their community. However; when the locals heard that Meghna and Tomal’s son, Badhon, had been born with a cleft lip and palate — no one came to visit.

Badhon and his family

Meghna and Tomal’s isolation from their community, however, quickly became the least of their problems, as Badhon was dying from malnutrition. Badhon’s cleft lip and palate made it impossible for him to breastfeed, so his parents fed him cow’s milk for the first year of his life. The lack of nutrients in the milk caused Badhon to suffer from frequent colds and, eventually, a serious case of pneumonia.

Badhon pulls on his monthers outfit

When Meghna went to the local hospital, the doctor was shocked to see that Badhon only weighed 7 pounds — the size of a newborn. The doctor knew Badhon needed immediate and specialised attention and referred Meghna to Smile Train’s local partner in Chittagong, LMRF Children’s Hospital. When they arrived, Badhon was too malnourished and underweight to receive cleft surgery, but his parents received nutrition counselling and, with time, Badhon gained enough weight to be eligible for Smile Train sponsored cleft surgery.

Badhon eating

At one and a half years old, Badhon received his cleft lip and palate surgeries at no cost. Meghna warmly recalls the moments after Badhon’s surgeries. “When I saw my baby after his surgeries, I was so happy I cried with joy.”

Badhon smiles at water pump

Badhon’s new smile has engendered hope for his parents, who now have a very different view about the future prospects of their family. “Our lives have completely changed. Badhon can play with other children, and nobody says bad things to us anymore. I know that he will be accepted at school and have a normal life like other children of his age. This is a great relief to us,” says Meghna.

Badhon plays ball with friends

Badhon’s father also had a message of gratitude for Smile Train’s supporters: “We are very grateful to the people who donated money and helped our child to be like other children.”

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