What if this was your child?
Born with a cleft lip or palate … and you had no medical aid or money in the bank to pay hospital and doctors’ bills? Wouldn’t you want someone to help?
Be that ‘someone’! Any amount you can donate goes towards life-changing surgery for a waiting child.
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Endless new smiles for children with cleft.
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Every 3 minutes …
… a child is born somewhere in the world with a cleft condition. In first world countries, corrective surgery is usually done within the first 18 months of life. But in Southern Africa, where safe surgery is not always freely available or accessible, a child may have to wait years for the chance to live a normal life.
What happens if cleft conditions are left untreated?
Change despair to hope
Depending on the severity, cleft conditions can be repaired in just 45 minutes, from as little as R5 500.
You don’t have to act as if you care
You just have to care enough to act
In 1982, Dr William (Bill) Magee, a plastic surgeon, and his wife Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, travelled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates.
What they found was overwhelming. Over 300 families arrived, hoping their children would receive surgery. But the team could only treat 40 children.
“People pushed their babies at us,” recalls Kathy. “They tugged at our sleeves with tears in their eyes and begged us to help their children.”
As they were leaving, the Magees promised they would return to help more children – and Operation Smile was born.
Today, Operation Smile is an international medical charity with a network of medical volunteers from more than 80 countries, dedicated to helping children born with cleft palate and other facial abnormalities.
Share our vision
We dream of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery. As long as there are children in the world who need our help, we’ll do whatever it takes to give them the quality care they deserve.
How your support helps
News & Stories
Being part of a team, united in a common goal of wanting to help others, is what all of our Operation Smile volunteers rate most highly about the experience.
Having lived his entire life with an untreated cleft lip, Iddrisah never expected to find love. Instead, he became used to abuse and isolation from his own family and community.
As a psychosocial care provider, Cathy has attended six Operation Smile surgical programmes. She uses therapeutic play and hands-on educational activities to help patients feel calm and prepared to enter the operating room.
Our global family
With more than 6,000 active medical volunteers from all around the world, Operation Smile is one of the world’s largest volunteer-based nonprofit organisations. Our supporters are people from all walks of life, who believe that anyone born with a cleft condition deserves safe, effective, and timely surgery and care.