Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
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Student Stories

Student volunteers play an important role in every international medical mission - helping to change children's lives and their own.

Operation Smile sends two student leaders and a student sponsor on missions to help educate local children and families about burn care and prevention, oral rehydration therapy, nutrition and dental hygiene. When students help children in need, they learn firsthand how they can make an impact on the world and the personal rewards gained from giving back.

Learning to Speak Again
Matias Gonzales has developed his own sort of sign language. At 16-years-old, the teenager refuses to speak because his cleft palate causes speech difficulties – he’d rather not even try.
A Shared Journey
I was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, which in a way has made my first Operation Smile medical mission a sort of safe haven – a place where everyone understands.
A New Family Across the Atlantic
A student volunteer experiences joy and heartache on a life-changing medical mission in Ghana.
A Young Patient Comforts Waiting Families
While mothers and fathers waiting nervously for their child to come out of the OR, one young patient eased their minds by telling them about his experience just a day earlier.
A Student Volunteer Forms Bonds
As a student volunteer, I was responsible for educating both the patients and their families on proper hygiene, hand washing, nutrition and burn prevention.
A student finds her passion on a medical mission
Working alongside doctors, observing surgeons in action, and being a student member of a volunteer medical team in the field intensified my passion for a future career in medicine.
In Rwanda, Baby Challone gets a new smile
A baby with a cleft in a small village was seen as bad luck. But with the help of Operation Smile, the baby's mother can't wait to show off her son to the village and the world.
Reya's Story
Reya is a happy, curious, and beautiful little girl. Despite her wonderful smile, she has extra cause to be weary of the world, a cleft lip and palate have made the world a not-so-beautiful place for Reya and her family.
Holding Hands and Hearts
These children brought tears to all of our eyes, because despite the neglect or cruelty that many had endured due to their facial deformities, they remained full of energy and excited for their new smiles. It is this room that I came upon the most beautiful smile I had every seen with or without a cleft lip.
Anyegre's Story
We didn’t understand the foreign words escaping each other’s lips, and he didn’t even know my name, but we had developed a strong bond in those few days that we had known each other.
Rupa: The girl who lives under the stairs
Underneath a concrete staircase at the back of the hospital, we entered the home of a mother and three children. Using a combination of bamboo, thatch, and plywood, they created a cozy two-room living space. It was there I met Rupa.
'Hermosa Bebe'
As we headed back into surgery I knew we both had no idea what to expect or what the outcome would hold. As the nervous mother handed her small child over to me, I had never felt a stronger sense of responsibility to someone. "Keep her safe" she said.

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