Smile Train's Sustainable Model

How we change the world one smile at a time.

Boy smiling in Argentina

Smile Train is the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, with a sustainable and local model of supporting surgery and other forms of essential care. Over the last 25+ years, we have supported safe and quality cleft care for 2+ million children and will continue to do so until every child in need with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.

Examples of How we change the world

child with a cleft next to mother

Locating children in need

Local staff and in-country volunteers raise awareness about clefts and the services that Smile Train sponsors through media campaigns, visits to neighboring communities, health worker outreach, and word of mouth. Families learn that clefts can be treated at no cost at a local partner hospital.

A doctor checking on patient in Somalia

Empowering local medical professionals

Smile Train trains and empowers medical professionals around the world to provide patients with life-changing cleft care that they would not otherwise have been able to access.

Speech therapy patient gives high five during session

Providing comprehensive cleft care

In addition to life-changing surgery, our local medical partners provide essential care, such as speech therapy, emotional support, nutrition services, and orthodontic care, to ensure that children have the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.

What Makes Us Different

Smile Train partners with local, in-country medical professionals to sponsor cleft treatments for patients in their own communities. Our sustainable model makes us more efficient and effective than mission-trip-based organizations, as our patients can receive care 365 days a year — so every person can get the help they need.

Leveraging Technology to Create Smiles

Smile Train has always looked to technology to help train ever more local professionals so they can, in turn, reach ever more children in need.

Virtual Surgery Simulator

The Simulator is an advanced, interactive, freely-available, 3D simulation technology that provides instruction on a variety of complex cleft surgical procedures.

Smile Train Express (STX)

Our partners upload patient records to our digital patient database, which not only saves millions in shipping, handling, and storage costs, but also allows us to review and monitor the quality of their work.


We have developed mobile applications to provide children with clefts, their parents, and local speech therapists more resources and means to improve their speech and language development.