Globally, 1 in every 700 babies is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Without access to proper treatment, these children not only live in isolation, but have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking, which prevents them from attending school or ever holding a job. The global medical and psychological burden of cleft lip and palate is especially prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.
For decades, medical missions have sought to alleviate this burden but there are significant barriers to sustainable, high-quality cleft care through a mission-based model. Smile Train , the world’s largest cleft organization,uses a sustainable and scalable model to support 100%-free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children globally by partnering with local hospitals to provide training, funding, and resources. Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training and education so that they can providefree cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in their own communities. Unlike other cleft charities, Smile Train builds the capacity of local health systems; fostering hope, confidence and lifestyle for both patients and communities-at-large. Smile Train’s singular focus on cleft treatment has enabled the organization to support safe, quality, and consistent cleft care for children in need all over the world.
Through rigorous self-governance and its sustainable, scalable model, Smile Train has elevated the standard of cleft care in the developing world. The organization has partnered with over 1,100 hospitals, supported over 1,500 medical conferences and trainings, supported training for over 2,100 medical professionals and enabled more than one million cleft surgeries since 1999.
During Giving Tuesday, the biggest giving day of the year, Smile Train is asking the public to #GiveSmiles to children with clefts around the world. While surgery can take as little as 45 minutes and costs as little as $250, it is out of reach for many around the world. By visiting the Smile Train website, you can see exactly how donations lead to a direct impact on children’s lives, providing not only smiles but second chances at life.