What is Operation Smile?
Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity with
programs and foundations in more than 60 countries, is dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery for children and young adults around the world who suffer from facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates. Operation Smile has mobilized a network of
more than 5,000 medical volunteers from more than 80 countries who offer their time and talents to this cause. Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided healthcare evaluations for more than 3.5 million patients and provided free surgeries for more than 200,000 children
and young adults.
Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of these children will die before their first birthday, according to research. These children often cannot speak properly and are shunned. Many times, a child born with a cleft cannot eat properly, leading to malnutrition. Many do not receive an education because they are not able or allowed to attend school.
But I’m just a college student! What can I do to help?
Thousands of students around the world volunteer in more than 900
global Operation Smile Student Clubs and associations founded in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities and medical schools. These students learn about the values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism, instilling in them the importance of giving to others. Student programs began in 1985 and raise an estimated $1 million annually for Operation Smile. At least two high school students accompany each of Operation Smile’s international mission teams, where they serve as student educators to present basic healthcare presentations to in-country patients and their families.