Thursday, 26 February 2009

Sleep, Smile Pinki and an unbelievable coincidence

I've been putting off writing this blog entry for a while as I didn't want to tempt fate. Unfortunately I waited too long and fate has not only been tempted but realised.

Two weeks ago Jake had a breakthrough. He would go to sleep and stay asleep until at least 4.30am...then 5.30am and then a string of 6.15's. It really felt as if someone had handed us the key to our cell and was showing us the way to the tunnel! However the last two nights in a row have been proliferated with half hourly crying sessions which need considerable shushing and the odd dummy deployment. It's so frustrating, you think you'd done the hardest bit but then he switches it up to keep us on our toes. Here's hoping it's a blip and normal sleep service will be resumed from tonight.

Next up, congratulations to 'Smile Pinki' which won 'Best Short Documentary' at the Oscars. The documentary is about a poor Indian girl, ostracised from her community, ridiculed and left to a life of solitude and shame until the Smile Train came along and repaired her lip at the age of 7. Pinki was at the Oscars although she fell asleep on her Dad's lap so didn't join Megan Mylan, the director on stage when the film won. I guess making it all the less cheesy and more poignant. I saw an online ad which read 'which Oscar will change the lives of 4 million children?'. A worthy winner indeed.

Which brings me to the coincidence. Yesterday morning I Googled Smile Pinki as I heard it had won and had been following the film's progress since it was nominated. Naturally I was pleased that it had won but after following a few threads I landed on a blog from a guy called Martin. His company it turned out, are very much involved with the Smile Train and organise various fund raisers and have done great things over the years to promote the good things it does. Naturally you can imagine my surprise when I tell you that half an hour later, I was talking to the very same Martin in our office at a sales meeting which had been arranged the week before to talk about his business requirements. As we talked about the coincidence and his involvement and experience with Smile Train, he revealed that not only is he good pals with the founder of the Smile Train, but he is about to join the board!

I've only just started donating to this charity and a week later I have a new contact with a direct route to the founder of it. Weird and spooky but cool too. I'm not sure if I've written much about this cause before but they are an inspiring organisation. They have a total of 43 staff yet have made over 500,000 cleft operations possible, free of charge in some of the poorest and remote communities around the world. There philosophy is 'teach a man to fish' whereby they provide training, materials and support, instead of 'give a man some fish' like so many of the missionary charities who maybe carry out just 200 operations a year. Those other charities do fantastic work but it's so costly flying hundreds of western doctors and nurses out to perform the operations. According to the New York Times, the Smile Train is " of the most productive charities -dollar for deed - in the world." Just $250 dollars is enough to pay for one child to have his or her cleft repaired. I felt compelled to give a monthly donation as I know that every year someone else will also get the operation that Jake had for free instead of suffering a lifetime of despair. Pinki shows me that we're all really the same...doesn't matter whether you're a middle class boy from Guildford or the poorest little girl in India, a cleft's still a cleft.

Check The Smile Train out here...

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