The Bravery of Mothers

While the emphasis of Alliance for Smiles is on the children, the bravery of the mothers should not be underestimated.

These mother, like all mothers want the best for their children. They travelled a great distance by modes of transport, rickshaw, Auto Rickshaw and bus. They stand in line for a long period of time, in the hope that the AfS team will be able to fix the birth anomaly that their children were born with.

The AfS team arrives and sets up for the opening clinic – and slowly but surely these woman come forward with their young children and, in some cases, teenagers. They are interviewed and registered; their child is photographed and examined by the team of nurses and doctors.

Once the process is over, they go home and hope that they will receive a phone call in the coming days for surgery.

When their surgery day arrives, having had to fast their child from midnight the previous night, the child is crying and hungry and the mothers are worried.

The AfS staff put the child in a hospital gown, generally that is about 10 sizes too big! They sit and wait again. Finally, an anesthesiologist comes out in scrubs and takes their little one.

Just think of what courage this takes, they are handing their child to someone who is not only not from their country, they are dressed oddly and they do not speak the language. They trust their children into our care.

Almost all the mothers cry at this point, and who can blame them – to give their child to someone strange in the hope that they will improve the child’s life takes an enormous amount of courage. It is little wonder that some get to that point and cannot go any further – the level of trust required is simply too much.

They wait – some surgeries are over 3 hours – they sit quietly, some sobbing quietly. Some have brought grandmothers for moral support.

Finally they get told that their child has completed surgery.

They walk hesitantly into the recovery room – their child is likely to be lying in a bed with one of the nurses holding an oxygen mask over their face.

The nurse gently places the child in mothers arms and for the first time she can see what a change has occurred – the reward for her courage and trust in the AfS team. No longer will her child be refused schooling, stared at in the street, or made to feel somehow less than other children.

She has shown the greatest courage and been rewarded.