It has partnered with Smile Train India to bring about the first ever smiles for 100 cleft patients.
The Himalaya Drug Company has launched a social campaign titled 'Muskaan', in association with Smile Train India, an international NGO dedicated to spreading awareness on cleft deformities and providing free corrective surgeries for the under-privileged people.
As part of the initiative, Himalaya Lip Care, the company's lip care product, will enable a minimum of 100 cleft surgeries with the help of Smile Train India through the first year of their partnership. So far, 55 cleft surgeries have already been completed. Each time a Himalaya Lip Care will be sold, Rs 2 will be contributed towards the cause. Himalaya's aim is to ensure that children in need of cleft surgeries get access to treatment at the earliest, and at an age when the healing is quicker.
In order to highlight the issue, the company has shot and unveiled a film on the life transformation journey of Jyothi from Darbur Village, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru, who lived with a cleft-lip for 14 years. The film brings alive the emotions and aspirations of the girl who was born with a cleft lip and how she undergoes a cleft-lip surgery that gives her her first real smile and leaves her with the promise of a better life. The music has been composed by Karan, and Sona Mahapatra has lent her voice to the background score.
Commenting on the initiative, Rajesh Krishnamurthy, business head-consumer products, The Himalaya Drug Company, says, "We are extremely happy to associate with Smile Train India for this initiative. It has shown genuine empathy towards the cause and has the operational excellence and network of skilled doctors to carry out the surgeries."
According to Krishnamurthy, as a leading brand in the lip care category, one of the core brand objectives for Himalaya Lip Care is to ensure healthy and nourished lips for all. "But, it just doesn't end here. We understand lips are a conduit to express one's emotions and confidence, and a cleft condition hinders both. As a leading brand, we have taken this initiative to support patients suffering from cleft-lips and help make a difference in their lives," he adds.
Krishnamurthy feels that the treatment of cleft-lip is hampered more due to the economic constraints and the general perception towards it. Therefore, there is a need to facilitate access to free surgeries and spread awareness about the particular medical condition. "The launch of Muskaan and the association with Smile Train is aimed towards meeting these requirements," he adds.
Mamtaa Carrol, vice-president and regional director for South Asia, Smile Train, says, "It's hard to imagine not being able to smile, but over 10 lakh children in India live with untreated clefts."
According to Carrol, this birth defect impairs eating, speaking and breathing and can lead to a life filled with shame and social isolation for the children and their families. "In the last 16 years, we have helped provide new smiles and a second chance in life to over 4,50,000 children in India and we are excited that Himalaya has joined us in this journey to transform lives. We are sure that the film on Jyothi will help raise awareness about clefts and its life-impacting treatment," she says.
"Support from corporates like Himalaya is a critical aspect of our work. It not only helps us continue and sustain our work, but enables us to extend it, add greater value to it, and spread awareness on a far greater scale. We look forward to a long and mutually fulfilling partnership with Himalaya which will add value to both organisations, as well as our common constituency of cleft patients," says Carrol.
Rahul Bharti, creative director, Roadrunner - the video production house, says, "The brief given to us emphasised on bringing alive the difference that a simple corrective cleft surgery can make in the life of a cleft patient. Simple things that we take for granted like smiling to express happiness, socialising with friends, and wearing make-up to look as well as feel good, was a big challenge for this young girl and this is something we discovered in our first meeting with Jyothi."
He further adds, "While it is impossible for a three-minute film to do justice to her everyday challenges, we have tried to capture a glimpse of her experience and aspirations."
In 2013, Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan appeared in a Smile Train campaign. In the video, Bachchan had conveyed the predicament of patients with cleft-lips and the possibility of changing such a child's life by supporting the NGO.
Smile Train India is an international children's charity organisation, with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft-lip and palate. In India, over 35,000 children are born with clefts every year and over 10 lakh children with unrepaired clefts not only live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Since the year 2000, Smile Train's model provides training and funding to empower local doctors and hospitals across India to provide free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. This has enabled Smile Train India to provide over 4,50,000 free surgeries through a network of 170 partner hospitals.