The Smile Train

No other IT company promotes a charity with the same passion as Computer Associates promotes The Smile Train. And perhaps no other chairman of an IT company is so much involved with a charity as Charles Wang, Chairman, CA, with The Smile Train.

The Smile Train is a non-profit organization launched in 1998. Its goal is to eradicate the global problem of cleft lips and palates. The Smile Train’s comprehensive approach to the problem of clefts involves free training for doctors, free surgery for children and research to find a cure. The charity is supported by individuals and private foundations and does not receive any governmental funding.

CA, for instance, matches every rupee contributed by its employees to The Smile Train by two rupees on its own. The administrative costs of the charity are completely met by Charles through his personal contribution that is not matched by CA.

For a person who reportedly draws the highest salary for any executive in the world this should not be too difficult a task. At the same time, we do not see too many chairmen chasing charities as Charles has done with his generous support to The Smile Train. Perhaps Bill Gates is the other example who has donated generously towards computer education of the needy and eradication of diseases through preventive medication.

CA and its chairman are not only providing money for the success of The Smile Train but also free software to develop a global database of children born with clefts. The company is also actively involved in developing software that will help surgeons to conduct virtual cleft surgery. This is like training pilots in simulators. The software would be available free to surgeons worldwide.

The Smile Train should be the pride of the global IT industry for its noble cause of eradicating clefts. In many developing countries where millions are born with the defect, the problem of cleft lips and palates is not considered a priority. In this context, it is commendable that The Smile Train has already put smiles on the face of 1,40,000 children worldwide.

At the CA-World Asia 2000 held recently at Shanghai, The Smile Train announced that the China Charity Federation was joining hands with it to provide cleft surgery to 24,000 Chinese children over the next three years. When this objective is achieved, the children who suffer physical and emotional devastation because of cleft lip and palate disorders would see a new life. Some prominent medical universities of China are collaborating with The Smile Train to offer four ‘In-Country Treatment Centers’ where the surgeries would be conducted.

The Smile Train has begun its work in India as well. The charity is adopting the collaborative route to achieve its objectives. It has so far tied up with AB Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Sri Ramchandra Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai, Impact India, The Charles Pinto Center, Trichur, Medi Citi, Hyderabad and the Rotary Club. Talks are going on with BJ Wadia Children’s Hospital, Mumbai, for a new partnership.

What all this means is that there is hope for those who suffer from clefts and can’t afford surgery. If you know someone with cleft, direct him/her to The Smile Train and put a smile on those who would otherwise never smile!

sylvesterl@cmil.com

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