Smile Train's Sustainable Model

How we change the world one smile at a time.

girl give thumbs up in bright yellow clothes

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 for children in need. Over the last 25+ years, we have supported safe and quality cleft care for 2+ million children globally and will continue our work until every child with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.


mother holds child needing surgery

Locating Children in Need

Local staff and in-country volunteers raise awareness about clefts and the services that Smile Train sponsors at local partner hospitals through media campaigns, visits to neighboring communities, health worker outreach, and word of mouth.

Cleft center in Nigeria

Empowering Local Medical Professionals

Smile Train provides training and financial support for treating clefts, empowering medical professionals around the world to provide children with clefts the life-changing surgery and related comprehensive cleft care that they would not otherwise be able to access.

speech therapy with cleft patient

Providing Comprehensive Cleft Care

In addition to life-changing surgery, our local medical partners often provide other essential cleft care, such as feeding and nutrition counseling, speech therapy, dental care, and orthodontic treatment, to ensure that patients have the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.

What Makes Us Different

Smile Train partners with local, in-country medical professionals to provide cleft treatments to patients in their own communities. Our sustainable model makes us more efficient and effective than mission-trip-based organizations because when care is available 365 days a year, every person can get the help they need.

Leveraging Technology to Create Smiles

Since we were founded, Smile Train has looked to technology to help train ever more local professionals who, in turn, are able to 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 our digital patient record database 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.