The girl who won’t smile!

An Indo-Nepal orthodontic venture will help a bright, little girl smile again and give her the confidence to rebuild her devastated country

He and his family survived the deadly 2015 Nepal earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people.

But he lost everything, including his house, and as he slowly rebuilds his life, Krishna Aacharya, has a simple wish that surpasses all else.

He wants to see his 12-year-old daughter, Meera, smile.

Literally.

“My daughter can’t smile confidently because her teeth are uneven. She hides her teeth when she smiles because she feels people will tease her. Confidence is important. It helps you achieve your goal and I don’t want her life ruined because of something as basic as teeth,” says the worried father.

The only corrective measure — braces – which he says costs Nepali Rs 50,000 is unaffordable. That’s where the Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedic Association of Nepal (ODOAN) and the World Federation of Orthodontists come in.

Meera and 100 children from across Nepal in the age group of 13 and 18 will get free braces and follow-up dental care for two years.

For Aacharya, it’s not the simple matter of getting his daughter braces. He believes that it will be these braces that will give her the confidence that will help her become a doctor.

“We lost everything in that deadly earthquake. We are still trying to recover emotionally and financially. The free braces and the follow-up treatment will give confidence to our children to work for the betterment of Nepal,” said Aacharya.

Meera goes to a government school in Kathmandu. Her father says she is a brilliant student and a sportsperson, proficient in both badminton and tennis.

Aacharya who works in a private company earns Rs 15,000 per month. He also has son (10) and a wife and is trying to rebuild his house with the help of government funding. “But for the earthquake we would have been fine, but now my finances have become an obstacle to our needs. But I will do my best to fulfil all the dreams of my daughter,” he said.

The girl who won't smile!
Dr. Nikhilesh Vaid

Dr. Nikhilesh Vaid, consultant Orthodontist and Dentofacial Orthopaedician who is in-charge of this programme said, “Orthodontics and orthodontic treatments are very expensive, but it’s very important for the overall development of children to build their confidence. It also benefits a child’s dental health.

“In Nepal, people affected by the earthquake are slowly trying to get back to a normal life. But it is very difficult, both emotionally and financially, and helping these kids smile, will work towards a developed Nepal. Because they are the future,” said Dr Vaid.