Featured: Harkirat Singh Paras is a Smile Train patient from Amritsar, India. Below, he shares how he overcame the odds to become a true renaissance man. This piece was originally written before the coronavirus pandemic.
Actions speak louder than words, and I believe that God chose us, children born with clefts, to prove this. I am an entrepreneur, engineer, YouTuber, Google-certified digital marketer, and brand photographer, and I was born with a cleft. Like all other parents, mine were unsure about where to go and how to get medical attention. However, they were optimistic and were determined to get me the best treatment as soon as possible. I underwent six surgeries at Smile Train partner hospitals — the first five at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and the sixth at Amandeep Hospitals, Amritsar.
I hardly spoke to anyone until I was 18. The reasons included people advising me to talk less, five consecutive surgeries, and classmates bullying me for my voice. As I got older, the bullying got worse. I even got rejected in a job interview just because of my cleft. This made me self-conscious, so I kept my focus on my academics and health in preparation for each upcoming surgery.
Read his full story HERE
The world bows in front of those who believe in their dreams. I chose to stand up and work to change how people think about me and others like me with clefts. Today, I proudly say that I talk to hundreds of clients and colleagues and do business all over India. Thousands ask me for guidance, motivation, help, and support.