Charity Spotlight: Smile Train

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Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Globally, 1 in every 700 children is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Clefts are the leading birth defect in many developing countries. A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate. Children with untreated clefts not only live in isolation, but also face physical difficulties with eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. As a result, most of these children don't attend school or ever hold a job.

Smile Train’s “teach a man to fish” model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. Those doctors then go on to train other doctors creating a long-term, sustainable system. Reconstructive surgery for clefts has evolved over more than half a century, and today’s techniques and procedures have come a long way. The surgery today is simple and the transformation is immediate. Patients see their smile for the first time, parents cry tears of joy, and lives and communities are changed forever.

As a result of Smile Train’s efficiency and with the support of our donors and partners around the world, Smile Train has transformed the lives of more than one million children by giving them the power of a smile. To learn more about the causes of cleft lip and/or palate, and how you can get involved please visit



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