Amina lives with her family in a village in the middle of the Bengal Delta in the state of West Bengal. Her cleft affects her lip, jaw and palate. Amina is one year old when her parents learn of the offer of free surgery in our cleft center in Kolkata through a brochure. The trip to Kolkata is arduous and takes Amina and her parents two days by bus and train, a difficult journey with a toddler. But the joy that Amina can finally get help outweighs the troubles. Fatema, Amina’s mother, wants nothing more than that her daughter can grow up to be as healthy as her two older brothers.
Dr. Siddhartha, the senior surgeon at our Kolkata cleft center, first operates on Amina’s lip cleft. The little girl recovers quickly and can leave the hospital two days after the procedure. The monsoon has begun and the water level in the mangrove area that the family has to cross on foot on their way home has risen significantly. Back in the village, the joy is great. Fatema is particularly happy. She is hopeful and confident that her daughter will now be able to attend school once she is old enough. Fatema herself only has a primary school degree. She wants Amina to have it better than she did!