Charity information

Smile Train

Providing 100%-free, sustainable repair surgeries and care for over one million children living with unrepaired cleft in 85 developing countries using our 'teach a man to fish' model.

Founded 1999

  • Mission statement

    Cleft is more than a cosmetic issue - it's also a health and survival issue. Cleft affects eating, breathing and speaking, and brings risk of sever malnutrition and even death, especially for children born in the developing world. Many children with cleft don't receive an education, are socially isolated and can't fully participate in their communities. Children with cleft are among the most vulnerable in the world.

    Smile Train's unique and sustainable model for surgery is different to any other global organisations. We don't fly Western aid in, but instead we build the capacity of local doctors and provide them with the skills they need to support their own communities. This enables Smile Train to reach even more children, and with increased safety and efficiency than any other cleft charity.

    Our 'teach a man to fish' model empowers local doctors to treat children in their own communities. These doctors then go on to train other doctors and medical teams, creating a long-term sustainable system. Many children in the developing world can't access surgical repair due to lack of trained surgeons in cleft surgery. Smile Train invest in training and education in areas where there is limited local capacity, building long-term infrastructure for care every day of the year.

    Smile Train has grown exponentially over the last 16 years, providing more than one million children with a life-changing cleft repair surgery.

  • Aims

    Smile Train aims to:

    • To provide free cleft surgeries and care for children needlessly suffering in developing countries.
    • To train and educate local surgeons, nurses and medical teams to provide high quality, safe care for children with cleft.
    • To educate children, families and communities in developing countries about cleft and share vital information on how to care for children with cleft.
    • To be at the forefront of cleft training and technology development, providing over 2,000 surgeons and medical teams around the world with essential funding to change the lives of children with cleft
  • Overview

    Established: April 1999

    Registered Charity Number: 1114748

    Board members: 5

    Full time staff: 56

    Phone number: 0300 303 9630

    Address: York House, Wetherby Road, York YO26 7NH

    View charity accounts on the Charity Commission website
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