The most emotional and physically intense day of Jamuna Mali’s life started with a pain in her abdomen, which led to her being rushed down treacherous mountain roads to a local hospital and then to an emergency C-section. The next thing she remembered was her local doctors’ explaining that her son had been born with a cleft lip and palate — conditions that she had never heard of or seen before.
Jamuna was in shock and needed to process what had happened, but then she willed herself back to reality. "I told myself that I needed to snap out of the confused haze I was in. When it came down to it, I just needed to be his mother and love him unconditionally," she said. With this new positive outlook for her son’s future, Jamuna named the child Jenious.
Thankfully, the doctors at the local hospital told Jamuna that she could take Jenious to B and B Hospital in nearby Kathmandu to receive the cleft surgeries he needed, free of cost. That is exactly what happened, and Jenious received his Smile Train supported cleft lip surgery just three months later.
After his cleft lip surgery, Jamuna noticed a marked improvement in Jenious’s health, and his feeding improved to the point where he was able to participate in a centuries-old rite of passage, a rice-tasting ceremony called Pasini.
When Jenious was three years old, he received his cleft palate surgery at B and B Hospital, and his improvement continued.
Jenious is now six years old, and, true to his name, at the top of his class at school. He aspires to be a robotics engineer when he grows up.
Jenious is very active and practices kung fu every chance he gets. Jamuna prefers that he do it outside of their small apartment.
His grandfather Babu is teaching him to play a traditional drum called a dhime.
When he isn’t studying, he loves to play with his new best friend.
Jamuna sent a word of advice for parents of a child born with a cleft. “It is okay to be surprised and afraid when your child is born with a cleft, but I want to reassure all other mothers of children with clefts that their babies will be okay — just love them,” said Jamuna. She also sent her thanks to Smile Train’s supporters who made her son’s active and happy life a reality.
Smile Train’s local partners were there for Jamuna and Jenious in a time of their greatest need, thanks to critical funding from Smile Train supporters. To help a child smile brightly, just like Jenious, please make a donation today.