Pinki Sonkar spent the first six years of her life being ostracized because people thought her facial deformity was God’s will. But a stranger’s act of kindness led Pinki and her family to the Smile Train organization where she received free cleft lip surgery. Here’s the true and inspiring story behind Smile Pinki.
Pinki Sonkar was born to a poor family in India. The sweet girl suffered from a cleft lip, which is completely treatable with surgery. But folks in this impoverished, rural area still linked deformities like Pinki’s with superstition.
Some believed the cleft lip was a kind of curse. Others thought it resulted from an eclipse occurring while Pinki’s mom was pregnant with her.
“It was God’s will,” the girl’s father explained when a social worker asked about Pinki’s cleft lip.
This poor girl was ostracized and teased, all because she looked different. Pinki couldn’t go to school. Her parents kept Pinki hidden from the public as much as possible.
But all of that changed when God led a stranger to this remote village in 2007.
Stranger’s Kindness Brings Free Cleft Lip Surgery
A social worker partnering with Smile Train showed up in Pinki’s village. He wanted to help Pinki Sonkar and her family. So he told them about a life-changing, free cleft lip surgery. This was huge for the poor family who had no way to get their daughter this kind of medical treatment on their own.
Pinki and her father set out on foot. They walked for three hours to get to the next village in order to find transportation to the hospital for the surgery. But the journey was well worth it.
Thanks to this act of kindness from all of the volunteers and partners, Pinki received the free cleft lip surgery that literally changed her life. Filmmaker Megan Mylan followed the inspirational short story in the award-winning documentary, Smile Pinki, which released in 2008.
WATCH: Smile Pinki Full Documentary
Before, Pinki was doomed to a life of isolation and ridicule. But after divine intervention led her to the free cleft lip surgery, Pinki blossomed. Finally, everyone else could focus on the beautiful spirit God placed inside this little girl.
"Pinki is a young girl who exemplifies strength, courage, and dignity every day of her life,” said Dr. Subodh Kumar Singh, the surgeon who operated on Pinki.
Pinki transformed from a shy and reserved girl to bubbly and outgoing. She became one of the smartest kids in the school, took up badminton, made lots of friends, and is living the life her family never imagined possible.
Pinki’s inspirational short story not only changed her life but also helped bring awareness to free cleft lip and palate surgery. This helped save even more children worldwide!
And as a real-life overcomer, Pinki continues to encourage and inspire so many today.
Smile Pinki Photos And Update:
Pinki age 6 before free cleft lip surgery
Pinki after surgery
Pinki age 12 in 2013
Pinki age 17 in 2018
WATCH: Smile Pinki 10 Year Update With Pinki Sonkar
h/t: Smile Pinki
Feature Image Credit: Facebook
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