Side By Side Smiles

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Sanjana and Nandini are two 16 year old girls, on a mission to raise money and awareness for children with cleft lips and palates worldwide.

A cleft lip is defined as a a split in the lip, and a cleft palate is hole in the roof of the mouth. Both are considered developmental conditions, which may be associated with a genetic condition or another syndrome. Every three minutes, somewhere around the world, a child is born with a cleft lip or palate. While neither of these conditions are life threatening, both can cause speech impairments, breathing problems, trouble with teeth, and difficulty eating. These are detrimental to a child’s development as well as his or her later life. Although cleft lips and palates can have a major impact on the quality of a child’s life if untreated, a few simple surgeries in a child’s early years can change his or her life.

16 years ago, when Nandini was born, her parents found out that she had a cleft lip. Since she lived in the United States, she was very lucky and fortunate to be able to receive her surgery at a young age. As she grew up, she realized that not everyone received the opportunities that she did. She then approached her best friend of 16 years, Sanjana, with the idea of doing something to help. From there, they worked together to create Side By Side Smiles. They wanted to be able to find their own personal way of giving back, and so they decided to combine their love for jewelry and philanthropy.

Side by Side Smiles (which you can find here; http://sidebysidesmiles.org/) creates jewelry and bracelets, which helps to raise funds for cleft lip surgeries in developing countries. Some of their most notable accomplishments include raising 13,000$ and being able to help over 52 kids in need. In the future, they are looking forward to accomplishing the following goals; raise $25,000, become an officially registered nonprofit organization, and find another local cause to add for Side By Side Smiles.To youth who are also looking for a way to make a change, they say this;

We would suggest that anyone interested in giving back should start as soon as possible. Also, it's super important to find a problem in the world that you are passionate about solving. By choosing a cause close to your heart, the amount of work seems less.”

Being Our Future

Youth Engagement in Politics and Social Justice through education, empowerment, opportunities and inspiration.

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