The flagship CSR programme of MPF ‘Smile Please’, free surgery mission for cleft patients commenced from last FY, partnering with Mission Smile India, a medical charity organisation who are experts in providing cleft care services.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial and oral deformities that occur very early in pregnancy, while the foetus is developing inside the mother. Clefting is defined as a lack of fusion of the tissues of the lip and mouth. The cause of clefting is multifactorial and has genetic, nutritional and other components which leads to this disorder. Cleft is not just a cosmetic issue; but has got severe functional challenges and is sometimes life threatening.
Problems faced by cleft patients
• Psychological stress
• Socially ostracized
Surgery is the only solution for repair of the cleft lip and
palate. In most parts of the country, surgery is inaccessible and
expensive. MPF engaged in to a partnership with Mission Smile the
expert cleft care organisation in India to extend free surgeries to
patients from deserving backgrounds.
Mission Smile is a not-for-profit organisation providing corrective surgeries to patients with cleft lip and palate deformities. It was established as a Registered Indian Trust in 2003 and has the Head Office at Mumbai.
So far Mission Smile has conducted 25000+ surgeries in India and all of them were safe and successful. MPF joined hands with Mission Smile from July 2014 and started to provide free cleft surgeries and allied supportive service to children with congenital cleft issues. During Phase 1, the target was to provide free surgeries to 350 children from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where the entire cost for the treatment is borne by MPF.
Preparation Phase: We are not just Donors
A New Model for Corporate Engagement in Philanthropy
From the initial stage of this programme, the Management of Muthoot Pappachan Group has taken a strong stand that our commitment is not just financial alone, but we will ensure our active involvement in the programme in field, responding to the cause.
In India, Cleft is seen as one case among 700 child births. Hence it is pertinent that the message should filter down to public in order to identify the patients. Also there is a need for extensive awareness to go into public on the cleft issue to fight the misconceptions. This message was disseminated to grassroots through the branches of MFL.
As a beginning, detailed training programmes were conducted all along Kerala and South Tamilnadu for the staff of MFL. In the first stretch, around 900 MFL branch Managers were given detailed orientation training and they were asked to filter it down to their team members. Leaflets were prepared in Malayalam and Tamil and supportive materials were send to all branches in Kerala and South Tamilnadu. All branches were asked to coordinate with social pockets like Panchayats, Anganwadis, Schools, NGOs, Hospitals, Associations, Clubs, Kudumbasree etc. to identify cleft patients. Also the regional leaders of MFL met almost all the MLAs informing them about the Mission. Rigorous efforts were taken by our branches to identify and recruit patients for the first mission at Kottayam and Nagercoil. This shows the extend of relationship of Fincorp branches with the society and their active linkages with public and social institutions in their locations.
This indeed is a model for Corporate engagement in CSR where various verticals of a corporate conglomerate actively respond to a heath cause like cleft, by involving their staff in mass awareness and also identifying patients to provide expert services in cleft care. The efforts taken by our branch staff are admirable as they also act as the single point of contact for these patients in providing them information on the cleft issue, our free cleft care services, ensuring hospital connectivity for medical check-up and surgery, post-operative follow ups etc.
Smile Please Programme Launch
Malayalam Cine Actor Dileep turns our Smile Please
Muthoot Pappachan Foundation in association with Mission Smile India announced the launch of ‘Smile please’ on 18th Oct at Cochin, a pan India campaign which will help to create public awareness and extend free cleft surgeries amongst children in the country.
The campaign was inaugurated by popular Malayalam Film actor Mr. Dileep in the presence of Mr. Thomas George Muthoot, Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group, Mr. Thomas Muthoot, Executive Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group and Mr. Dalip Pande, Director Partnerships, Mission Smile India.
Mr. Dileep has extended all his support and cooperation for this program. He said, “I am touched by the initiative of Muthoot Pappachan Group. I can realise the trauma and embarrassment a person with cleft-lip undergoes in the society”. Dileep had recently acted in a movie called ‘Sound Thoma’ in which he played the role of a man with a cleft-lip, the film very well managed to portray the humiliation a cleft-lip person undergoes in a society and the way he overcomes all these problems. He got the inspiration from this to be part of this initiative lead by Muthoot Pappachan Foundation.
The surgery target for 2014-15 was 350 and the programme was initially proposed to implement in Kerala and Tamilnadu. In Kerala, surgeries were planned at Muthoot Life Brigade Hospital and in Tamilnadu a centre of Mission Smile at Nagercoil.
Smile Please – 52 New Smiles from First Mission at
The first Mission of ‘’Smile Please” was conducted at Life Brigade Hospital, Kottayam during 11th to 18th October 2014 targeting 50 surgeries. Once the Mission was over, 52 patients were given free cleft surgeries. A 40 member medical expert team all across from 7 states volunteered for the Mission. The team included Plastic Surgeons, Maxillofacial Surgeons, Anaesthesiologists, Dentists, Paediatricians and other trained medical personnel.
At the pre-screening conducted at Muthoot Life Brigade Hospital on 11th Oct around 150 patients turned up for medical check-ups and evaluations. From these patients, 52 have been referred for surgeries at the first mission.
All these 52 patients undergone surgeries successfully and all of them turned up for the post-operative follow up check-up on 21st Oct. This mission is marked as the first one in the Mission Smile Missions in India for 2 reasons. Firstly, there were no complications reported for any of the patients in the entire process and secondly there was 100% attendance for post-operative check-up.
Another 17 patients screened at Life Brigade which required complex surgical processes and prolonged post-operative care were referred to the Mission Smile Centre at Nagercoil to receive surgeries in this scheme.
WE ARE THERE TO CHANGE LIVES
Mr. Thomas Muthoot
Executive Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group
We are overwhelmed by the response received during our first leg of the program conducted in Kottayam. It’s unfortunate that individuals born with cleft lip and/or palate are often stigmatized and face much psychosocial adversity. Social attitudes and beliefs have a direct impact upon the psychological development of these individuals. Providing cleft surgeries to children and youngsters helps change their lives. With a perfect smile on their face and overcoming their functional challenges through corrective surgeries, they set forth for a new life with enhanced confidence.
Muthoot Pappachan Foundation is proud for being a part of this noble cause, offering free surgeries to children, which will help them all, live a life free of any stigma. Also we welcome other corporates as well to walk with us in helping more kids smile and live their new life.
Second Mission at Nagercoil - 38 New Smiles
Second Mission of Smile Please at Nagercoil was scheduled from 13th to 19th Jan 2015 and we received 80+ patient registrations through Fincorp branches. Most of the patients were primary cleft cases who came for their first surgeries. Though there were challenges like Ponkal holidays in Tamil Nadu, connectivity to Nagercoil through both rail and road due to Makara Samkranthi and Sabarimala pilgrimage etc. the Mission concluded successfully with 38 new smiles.
Continued Centre Activities - 260 New Smiles
Fincorp branches in South Tamilnadu and Kerala were asked to continue patient recruitment to provide surgeries at Nagercoil Centre. During the FY 260 surgeries were provided at the Nagercoil Centre through the continued programme. Altogether 350 patients received free surgeries during 2014-15 and many of them also received their second stage surgeries through this programme.
MANUEL MATHEW (6 months)
Manuel is the third son of Mr. Mathew Thomas and Mrs. Ruby Mathew. They are from a rural agriculture family residing at Valiyathovala, near Kattappana in Iducky district.
When they saw the baby for the first time the whole family felt so sad and depressed. But the mother who believed that if god has created him so there will be a plan for him. She was sad mostly due the fact that she couldn’t feed him on her milk. Till now the child has eaten only alternate supplements. But her elder children were so happy to get him. The eldest daughter calls him ‘’Lucky’’ and second son calls him ‘’Unni’’.
They got the information of Smile Please Mission at Life Brigade through nearby MFL Branch (Ezhukumvayal, Iducky). Manuel was having a congenital lip cleft issue marked as L Unilateral Incomplete at the screening for Kottayam Mission. He also has got an issue on his palete as well. Manuel successfully undergone the first surgery for lip correction on 15th Oct at Life Brigade and relieved from the Hospital on the very next day.
Whole family turned up on 22nd Oct for the post OP Check-up at Life Brigde and also for acknowledging the services they received. They all are happy now seeing his innocent and perfect smile. The whole family are thankful to God for Manuel’s safe and successful surgery. His mother wants him to be a priest when he grows up, if he also agrees to it.
3 months later in January 2015, Manuel received his second surgery for palete issue at Nagercoil Mission which was also successful and he is perfect now. Going forward, Manuel has to do some speech therapy exercises to get perfect delivery of words and the first lessons are already given by the Speech Therapist at the Mission. MPF will continue to support him to get this done and grow smart.
Cheer up Manuel !!!