We dream of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery


Operation Smile

Operation Smile South Africa is part of a global, volunteer-based medical charity that provides free surgery to repair cleft conditions in children and young adults.

The organisation was founded in America in 1982. Since then, it has spread to 60 countries and provided more than 300 000 free surgeries. And yet the need remains. Especially in Africa, where so many children would otherwise not receive the surgery and supplementary care they need.

It’s no secret that South African health systems are overburdened and under resourced. As a result, children might have to wait years for surgery. In the meantime, these little ones may struggle to eat or speak. Or be bullied or shunned by the community.

Since 2006, we’ve provided direct help to hundreds of patients with cleft lip and/or palate in South Africa, and beyond.

Beyond South Africa’s borders
We’ve helped set up seven Operation Smile foundations in sub Saharan Africa, enabling the organisation to reach hundreds more children in need.

Apart from surgical interventions, we also provide education and training in the field, and undertake research into the cause of cleft conditions.

All this is made possible through our network of over a hundred medical and non-medical volunteers. And our generous supporters, who are moved every day to partner with us to make a difference in the lives of children they’ve never met.

Operation Smile helps all children

All children deserve to be treated as if they were our own.

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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.