A Lost Shepherd in Afghanistan

10 April 2019 | Smile Train

Smile Train Afghanistan

Hekmatullah lived with an untreated cleft lip for twelve years in an isolated area of Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

One day, a visiting relative told Hekmatullah that he’d seen a Smile Train advertisement stating that cleft surgery was available in Kabul, free of cost. When Hekmatullah excitedly asked his parents to take him to the country’s capital, they told him that free surgery was too good to be true and that they couldn’t afford to travel hundreds of miles for a hoax. 

Despite his parents’ caution, Hekmatullah remained resolute that his life would change forever if he could just make it to Kabul. So, to raise funds for the journey, he worked for a local shepherd. He worked for months, often overnight, until he’d saved enough for two round-trip bus tickets to Kabul.

Smile Train Afghanistan

In Kabul, Hekmatullah’s faith was rewarded when the family found Smile Train partner CURE International Hospital and Hekmatullah received his long-awaited forever smile.

Hekmatullah’s journey to a forever smile was improbable. His relative could’ve missed our advertisement; he could have quit when his parents told him “no”, but thanks to his strong will and Smile Train’s supporters, twelve-year-old Hekmatullah found his way to a forever smile.


Please consider making a donation today to help empower medical professionals around the world to provide 100%-free comprehensive cleft care to children in need.