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Nurse Shoba From Thrissur Honoured with Global Award By International Cleft Care NGO Smile Train

The nurse from Jubilee Mission Hospital receives “Teach a Woman to Fish Award” at Smile Train’s 25th Anniversary Gala at New York

Thrissur, Kerala, India

Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused NGO, honoured Sister Shoba Lonappan, Head Nurse, Female Surgery Ward at Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur with the prestigious “Teach a Woman to Fish Award” on May 8, 2024. The Global award was presented to her at the 25th Anniversary Smile Train Gala held at New York in recognition of her unwavering dedication and compassionate care towards children with clefts.  Sister Shoba is the first nurse to receive this global recognition for cleft care medical professionals.    

Since 2007, Sister Shoba has been an integral part of the Smile Train-supported cleft care program at Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute. Her remarkable commitment to providing holistic care to children undergoing cleft treatment has earned her admiration from both patients and colleagues alike.

Speaking about the award, Mamta Carroll, Senior Vice President and Regional Director – Asia, Smile Train said, “Sister Shoba Lonappan embodies compassion and dedication in healthcare, making invaluable contributions to children with clefts and the cleft care community. Sister Shoba’s warm smile and nurturing demeanour has brought comfort to countless children and their families during their cleft journey. Despite her demanding role as the Head Nurse of the entire ward, Sister Shoba remains tirelessly devoted to ensuring the well-being of every patient under her care. Her commitment to excellence and compassionate care reflect Smile Train’s core values as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.” 

Dr P V Narayanan, Chief Surgeon, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute mentioned, “Being among the first hospitals to partner with Smile Train in India, we take immense pride in the global recognition bestowed upon our esteemed Sister Shoba. This acknowledgment underscores Smile Train’s steadfast commitment to honouring the contributions of its frontline caregivers. Such accolades also serve as inspiration for nurses across the region, motivating them to strive for excellence in their own endeavours.”

Expressing profound gratitude, Sister Shoba Lonappan, Head Nurse, Female Surgery Ward, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur said, “It is truly humbling to be recognized for the work that I do every day. The journey of caring for children with clefts has been profoundly rewarding one, filled with countless moments of hope, healing, and joy. I am immensely grateful to Smile Train for their continued support, which has enabled me to be a part of this incredible journey. This honour is not just mine but a tribute to the entire team, whose dedication and teamwork make miracles happen every day.”

Smile Train India has supported more than 16,000 surgeries, along with other essential non-surgical care, at Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute in the last 23 years. Together, both organisations have transformed lives of thousands of patients and their families in many ways.

Cleft, a gap in the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth (palate), is a facial birth difference which affects one in 700 babies and 35,000+ children are born with clefts in India annually.  Without treatment, children have difficulty in eating, breathing, hearing, speaking and may face social isolation. Since the year 2000, Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding and resources to empower local doctors and hospitals across India to provide 100%-free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. This ‘teach a man to fish’ strategy has enabled Smile Train India to provide more than 7,00,000 free surgeries through a network of over 150 partner hospitals.

About Smile Train India

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We offer a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. Since 2000, Smile Train India has supported more than 700,000 free cleft surgeries across India, through a network of 150+ partner hospitals. To learn more about how Smile Train India’s sustainable approach, please visit For cleft treatment related query or support, please call our toll-free cleft helpline: 1800 103 8301.

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