We use the "teach a man to fish" model focusing on training local doctors to perform cleft repair surgery in their own communities.
We leverage technology and innovation to train and utilize local partner hospitals and doctors and provide them with the resources, knowledge and skills to enable long-term sustainability.
Every child born with a cleft - anywhere in the world - should have the opportunity to live a full and productive life. Smile Train provides free cleft surgery and related treatment to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries.
While our cost per surgery varies across the 85+ different countries we have worked in, our contribution per surgery is as low as $250. This amount reflects the contribution per surgery that we provide our partner hospitals. They also cover a significant portion of each surgery as part of our cost-sharing agreement.
Smile Train provides financial support that has been used for everything from building new operating rooms to crucial safety equipment like pulse oximeters down to cleft surgical instruments and supplies like scalpels and sutures. All of these investments make not only a significant number of incremental surgeries possible, but also make these surgeries safer and of higher quality.
Every child with a cleft needs more than just surgery. They also need dental care, orthodontics and speech therapy. Where these services are available, we do everything we can to make them available to our patients. We pay for speech therapy sessions, dental and orthodontic work and much more.
Some of our patients are so malnourished they are not healthy enough to be operated on and are provided food for one to two weeks before surgery. Some of our patients are so poor they have no money to get home after surgery. Sometimes they have no shoes and no money for food. We have special programs that give small stipends for these poorest of the poor.
Smile Train provides more free training and education to cleft surgeons and related medical professionals than any other organization in the world. Since 1999, we have provided more than 66,000 free scholarships, surgical training resources, workshops and symposiums for doctors and medical professionals from 140+ countries.
Smile Train's Medical Advisory Board (MAB) is comprised of the best and the brightest cleft experts in the world, from maxillofacial surgeons to anesthesiologists to speech pathologists. The MAB compiles information for Smile Train to disseminate in an effort to raise awareness and change public attitudes about clefts.