Pinki has a reason to smile

Sandeep Kumar Gautam, PMRDF at Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh

This is the first article I am writing to you. I am writing not just as a PMRDF but also as a person who is currently living in Mirzapur and is really proud to introduce this girl named Pinki Sonkar. Many of you may already know about “Smile Pinki” but many may not.  Pinki has returned from England where she was specially invited to toss the final match “COIN” at Wimbledon on 7th July 2013. She must have learnt many things in the process but the three things she will say are “Good Luck, Thank you and Welcome”.

I haven’t met Pinki yet but hearing about her for many days and and I am eager to meet her very soon. Pinki lives in “Choti Khoriya” village of Block Ahrora, Mirzapur, UP. Pinki’s father and Mother work as unskilled labourers who are dependent on their daily wages. Pinki is 11 yrs of age, studying in class 2, living in a village surrounded by the forests and hills where hardly any form of public facility can be seen. I hear she is fond of chocolates, ice-cream, cold drinks and non-vegetarian food. Due to weak economic conditions however she cannot afford her dream foods and hence eats only ‘Daal and Chawal’. She loves her domestic animals especially her goat named ‘Lali’ and loves to spend time with her friends.

How has she made it from this small village in Mirzapur to Wimbledon of England? Here it is. Pinki is the brand ambassador of Smile Train (http://www.smiletrain.org/), the foundation which provides treatment to children born with cleft lips in over 80 countries globally. Plastic surgeon Subodh Kumar Singh who performed the surgery on her (since she was born with cleft lips) has recalled her metamorphosis from a “shy, terrified” child to a “smart, confident” girl, ready to face the world. “Earlier she would hide behind her mother’s saree fearing ridicule from society. She had a poor self-image and a very low self-esteem but now she is facing cameras boldly and ready to toss the coin. Her story is really inspiring.

Pinki’s story was told by Megan Mylan in a documentary named “Smile Pinki “(2008), which won an Oscar in 2009. The film shows the story of a poor girl in rural India whose life is transformed when she receives free surgery to correct her cleft lip.

Pinki was practicing how to toss with a 2 rupee coin that she got from her father. She had practiced for a week when the District Administration after reaching her village asked her 2 questions. First they asked where she is going. She answered, ENGLAND hahaha! And the second one, do you know why you are going to England? She tossed the 2 rupee coin and said to the police station in-charge, this is what I am going to do! The District Administration was quite supportive to her family and took care of her security, health and other matters.  Now Pinki is the talk of the town; every media person wants to interview her. I too am eager – I want to hear  the real experience of her in her own words!

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