We have been active in India since 2003. India is our largest project country today. In 2019, almost 2,800 operations were carried out. Currently we are represented at 31 locations across India: Agra, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Cuttack, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad (3 projects), Jodhpur, Katra, Kolkata, Mangalore (2 projects), Mumbai (2 projects), Mysuru, Nagpur, Pandharpur, Patnam Pune, Raipur, Sangli, Surat, Tirupati, Varanasi, Vishakapatnam (2 projects). At six of these locations, we offer comprehensive cleft therapy in addition to surgery.
With an estimated 40,000 children born with cleft lip and palate in India each year and the many untreated cases, the unmet need for help for cleft patients is high. Despite the economic growth and rapid development of large cities, the situation of the rural population remains unchanged. Of the approximately 1.4 billion Indians, around 900 million live in the simplest of circumstances and in great poverty. The situation of women and girls is particularly deplorable.
Only long-term, sustainable aid that invests in the establishment of independently viable local structures can bring about change here. This requires committed and reliable local partners, perseverance – and the support of many colleagues.
Since 2013 our work in India has been organized by our partner organization ABMSS (Akhila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja), based in Bengaluru. ABMSS is the contact for the doctors and their teams at our 32 treatment centers. We introduce some of them here:
The plight of the Indians with cleft is great, particularly in the many rural regions. Children with a cleft lip and palate have little chance of growing up normally. The operation is a first step towards a better life. Please help cleft children in India with your donation!
Modern Europeans were made aware of India in 1498 by the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama. British colonial rule in India began around 1600. In 1858, India officially became part of the British Empire, under Queen Victoria as Empress of India. Pakistan and Bangladesh were then also part of the Indian Empire. It was Mahatma Gandhi who led India to independence in 1947 with non-violent resistance. The Indian subcontinent was divided, two independent states emerged: Muslim Pakistan and India, which is predominantly inhabited by Hindus. On January 30, 1948, a radical Hindu murdered Mahatma Gandhi, who was committed to peace between religions throughout his life.
Despite its recent economic growth, India remains a developing country. Around 80 percent of Indians have less than two dollars a day to live on, a third even less than one dollar. This is especially true for the almost 900 million Indians who live in rural areas.