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WHO WE ARE

Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low and middle income countries.

At Operation Smile, we're more than a charity. We're a mobilized force of international medical professionals and caring hearts. Operation Smile is a pioneer in advocating for the importance of safe surgery in resource poor environments and is the largest surgical charity of its kind, leading research into the causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, and its prevention, treatment and eradication.

Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft. A child with a cleft has twice the odds of dying before their first birthday. Children with cleft conditions who survive may have difficulty eating, speaking, hearing or breathing properly. In some places, they are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford the surgeries they need to live a productive life.

At Operation Smile, we believe that, every child deserves access to safe, quality surgical care. Every child deserves a future filled with hope.

That's where we come in as the largest volunteer-based children's medical charity providing free cleft surgeries. Since 1982, Operation Smile — through the help of dedicated medical volunteers — has provided 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults. Particularly in Vietnam, Operation Smile has helped changing lives for approximately 30,000 under-privileged children. Our work creates a lasting global impact. We train local medical professionals in developing countries and strengthen healthcare systems so more children in some of the poorest areas in the world can be treated.

As one of the most prominent charities for children in the world, we work in over 60 countries to heal children’s smiles and bring hope for a better future. Thanks to the generosity and spirit of volunteerism shown by our supporters, we heal thousands of children per year. 

Together, we are saving children’s lives!                                                               

WHAT WE DO

Operation Smile mobilizes its network of more than 5,400 medical volunteers from more than 80 countries who donate their time and talents to provide safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and deliver postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low and middle income countries. Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults including 30,000 children of Vietnam

Our volunteer-based teams of international medical professionals repair cleft deformities, but equally important, they restore hope and renew lives by improving the physical, mental and social well-being of each child.

In addition to short-term mission work, Operation Smile provides long-term, sustainable medical care through the establishment of year-round treatment centers. Through the implementation of educational programs and medical training, as well as contributing medical equipment and supplies, Operation Smile grows medical self-sufficiency in resource poor environments.

Together, our staff and volunteer medical teams repair clefts, advocate for patients, lead research into the cause, prevention and treatment of cleft conditions, and ultimately aim to eradicate cleft defects globally. This is made possible by the generous support of our donors, international partners and other non-medical volunteers.

Operation Smile has gained extensive knowledge and insight into the challenges facing global health in the developing world. Poverty, malnutrition, cultural superstitions, and a severe lack of specialized surgeons in many resource-poor environments are all part of the problem.

Giving every child the chance to smile

At Operation Smile we believe that all children deserve to live their lives with dignity. And for those suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities, dignity begins with a smile. But in many parts of the world, children with cleft lip and cleft palate are hidden away, too embarrassed to attend school and face uncertain futures because their parents cannot afford to provide the surgery they need.

Together, our staff and volunteer medical teams repair clefts, advocate for patients, lead research into the cause, prevention and treatment of cleft conditions, and ultimately aim to eradicate cleft defect in the country. This is made possible by the generous support of our donors, international partners and volunteers. 

Our free, life-changing surgeries take as little as 45 minutes, and can give a boy or a girl with a facial deformity a lifetime of smiles. Plus, every child we heal creates a ripple effect on the child's family, community and country. Imagine an older child whose cleft palate is fixed but who is still unable to speak, or a child who has never before seen a pediatrician or dentist before they encounter Operation Smile. Our medical teams give our patients specialized care so they can live healthy and productive lives.

We treat: Operation Smile Vietnam has provided over 53,000 free medical procedures. With approximately 25 missions per year, our medical volunteers provide specialized surgical cares and continuous treatment such as nutrition education, dental care and speech therapy. 

We train: Surgeries performed in-country by local medical volunteers account for more than 90% of the total number of surgeries provided. Operation Smile has developed comprehensive, hands-on education programs and trained hundreds of local surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other health professionals so they can provide treatments within the communities. This contributes to human resource development in the field of maxilla-facial of Vietnam. 

We collaborate: Operation Smile in Vietnam closely cooperates with Ministry of Health for its interventions in the country. The organizations develops permanent programs and strengthens healthcare systems to create self-sufficiency by forming alliances with local governments, health service institutions, hospitals and universities, so they can carry these programs far into the futures.