Aishwarya appointed 'Smile Train' ambassador

Aishwarya Rai

Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador of 'Smile Train', an international charity that provides cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children in need.

The former Miss World, who turns 36 on Sunday, will partner with 'Smile Train' in association with her own charity, the Aishwarya Rai Foundation, aiming to provide free cleft surgery to over one million children in 76 developing countries around the world, including India.

"There are a lot of children out there who desperately need help, but can't receive timely care because their families cannot afford this surgery or are ill-educated about this condition.

"Working with Smile Train, if I can make a difference in their lives, it will certainly make me feel honored and blessed," Aishwarya said in a press statement.

The Oscar-winning short film 'Smile Pinki', which depicts the transformation in a young girl's life as her cleft lip is repaired by a 'Smile Train' doctor, recently brought the problem of this physical deformity to the fore.

'Smile Train' currently has over 150 partner hospitals in India and has performed over 200,000 surgeries. The organisation also has 1100 partner hospitals worldwide.

"Aishwarya's universal appeal and star power will be a priceless asset to our organization, which does such important work in every corner of the globe," said Smile Train President Brian Mullaney.

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