A Single, Solvable Problem: Cleft Lip and Palate

Many children around the world are living with untreated clefts.
Most have difficulties eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking.

What is Cleft?

  • 32

    children born with a cleft lip/palate annually in Africa.

  • 250

    can cover the cost of surgery.

  • 45

    minutes can change a child’s life forever.

One Goal: To Give Every Child the Chance to Smile

Smile Train is an international children’s charity that supports 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children globally. Our sustainable model empowers local medical professionals to provide cleft care in their own communities.

Learn About Our Model

Comprehensive Care

Every child with a cleft needs more than just surgery — they may also need orthodontics, speech therapy, or nutritional support. Where these services are available, we aim to provide them to our patients.

Sustainable Model

We use the ‘teach a man to fish’ model focusing on training and empowering local doctors to provide comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.

Our Impact

As a result of our efficiency, Smile Train has supported more than 1.5 million cleft surgeries since 1999. Every 5 Minutes Smile Train-supported cleft treatment helps a child in need.

News & Stories

The Sunrisers Race Towards a New Day for Children with Clefts



The group started about 40 years ago when a group of local leaders in Nairobi, Kenya decided to walk together early each morning. The 20 or so friends upp...

“She Is Our Pride and What Gave Us Strength”

When a child with a cleft is born into one of these communities, the stakes for access to quality healthcare are no less high. Besides the sometimes-fatal difficulties eating an...

Dr. Grégoire Akakpo-Numado: Smile Train’s Model is Life or Death for My Patients

I earned my bachelor’s degree with high honors, then went home still not really knowing what I wanted to do. This made my father angry — he couldn’t understand how I could go to...

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