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Our Vision

We envision a future where health and dignity are improved through safe surgery.

Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. We estimate that there are millions of children waiting for care in the more than 30 countries where we work. 

The majority of these children’s families are unable to receive the surgery and comprehensive care they need because it’s too costly, too far away from their homes, of inadequate quality, or not available at all. Without treatment, cleft conditions can cause severe health problems which can become fatal. The children who survive may face years of painful bullying and social isolation.

Hope can become lost, and the future can feel uncertain for them and their families. 

Our Mission

Through our expertise in treating cleft lip and cleft palate, we create solutions that deliver safe surgery to people where it’s needed most.

child with cleft condition

Our Approach

We have established a global footprint and currently provide world-class cleft care in more than 30 countries with help from thousands of volunteers representing more than 60 countries. Learn how we’re delivering safe surgery around the world.

What started as a family-led, medical-mission based organization has grown into a global network of passionate individuals united under the belief that access to safe surgery is not a privilege but a universal human right.

Empowering local health professionals through training and education creates surgical solutions that last. We’re proud that most of our medical volunteers are from the low-and middle-income countries we serve. By partnering with ministries of health, academic institutions, corporations, local health professionals and other organizations, our goal is to change lives and revolutionize how entire health systems deliver surgical care.

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. Bill Magee Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates.
Find out more about how we’re creating surgical solutions that last through training and education.
We partner with leading global corporations and other businesses that share our vision of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery. Help us change lives.
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Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. Bill Magee Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates.
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Find out more about how we’re creating surgical solutions that last through training and education.
3.
We partner with leading global corporations and other businesses that share our vision of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery. Help us change lives.
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Our Commitment to Comprehensive Care

Surgery is a crucial step in treating a cleft condition; it can immediately improve a child’s ability to eat, breathe and speak. However, it’s not the only step. 

We also provide comprehensive care based on each child’s needs including speech therapy, nutritional support, dentistry, orthodontics and psychosocial support. This increases their likelihood of living a healthier and more fulfilling life, attending school and pursuing a brighter future. We’re committed to providing our patients with health that lasts – because it’s the right thing to do. 

Find out how we’re providing our patients with the highest quality of care around the world.

When we meet families affected by cleft conditions who live in some of the most impoverished communities in the world, we’re reminded of the transformative effect surgery can have on the lives of people like Dede and his daughter Clara.

Unconditional Love

Clara was born with a severe cleft lip and cleft palate. Her mother didn’t dare to breastfeed her. She even refused to acknowledge Clara as her own child. Her father Dede decided he would do everything he could to find a solution for his daughter. It would take him six years.

Will you help us provide new smiles and brighter futures for more children?

MAKE A GIFT

It takes as little as $240 and as few as 45 minutes to provide life-changing surgery and a bright, beautiful new smile to a waiting child.