Before starting my internship, I was invited to Smile Train UK’s Summer Celebration, which just happened to be at the House of Lords. It was an amazing evening that celebrated many milestones for Smile Train in 2018 such as reaching 500,000 smiles in India. I also got to meet the rest of the UK team and Baroness Kay Andrews who was hosting the event.
We heard about many of Smile Train's achievements, including personal stories from a young girl in India who had not had her initial repair. This not only increased her social isolation, but also meant that she dropped out of school. After her Smile Train funded surgery, she went back to finish her education and is now a confident, fully-qualified teacher.
I also had the pleasure of meeting (left-right) Nathan Abbott (one of Smile Train’s most loyal fundraisers – having raised over £21,000), Matilda Lansdown (one of Smile Train’s Ambassadors), Sophie Arkette (who works with the charity, Changing Faces) and Jenny Engstrom-Baron (who sits on Smile Train’s Cleft Community Advisory Council).
Whilst it was fantastic to meet so many incredible supporters and truly feel part of the ‘Smile Train family’, the evening was particularly special since I was able to share it with my mum and dad. They’ve been my biggest supporters growing up and for them to see where embracing my cleft has led me was a pretty wonderful way to thank them.