Smile Train Mission

The Smile Train is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a major problem in many developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most children suffering from clefts cannot eat or speak properly, and many are not allowed to participate in school or their communities. In addition to this unfair discrimination, children with clefts face very difficult everyday lives filled with isolation, pain and heartache. When Smile Train provides free surgery to children in developing countries, they are changing lives. From a life of shame and discrimination, Smile Train surgeries lead to personal acceptance and self-confidence.
The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.
This is Smile Train's mission:
-To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
-To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.


Until there are no more children who need help and they have disposed of the problem of clefts, this is The Smile Train's mission and plan.



How The Smile Train Began

The Smile Train organization was founded in 1999 by Charles Wang and Brian Mullaney. Mullaney and Wang wanted to find a new approach to providing surgery for poor children in developing countries. It was then that Charles and Brian came up with the idea for the Smile Train. The Smile Train has grown into the world's largest cleft charity, training tens of thousands of medical professionals to repair clefts, establishing hundreds of programs world-wide, and helping countless amounts of children.

How is Smile Train Different?

The Smile Train is different from other cleft charities because instead of sending teams of doctors and nurses on medical trips to repair cleft lips/palates, Smile Train teaches local doctors how to repair and operate on clefts in their own communities.

What is a cleft?

A cleft is a birth defect and a significant problem that affects the lives of over 4 million poor children around the world. A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip between a newborn's mouth and nose. A cleft palate is created when the roof of the mouth has a hole in it. Babies are born with clefts everywhere in the world, but can easily be repaired. Clefts are often larger problems in developing countries because families are not able to afford the surgeries, and the government does not pay for clefts to be repaired. That is where The Smile Train steps in to help!

Smile Train Provides a Second Chance

The Smile Train Empowering Local Doctors

Click here to get to the Smile Train website!



Smile Pinki

"Smile Pinki" is an amazing documentary of a poor, 5 year old girl living in rural India with a cleft lip. Pinki is not allowed to attend school and she is discriminated against because of her deformity. Pinki wonders if she will ever be able to have he cleft repair surgery that she desperately wants/needs, but her family cannot afford. However, Pinki's life is soon magically transformed when she happens to meet a social worker who is traveling from village to village. He is gathering patients with cleft lips for free surgeries provided by the Smile Train program. Pinki's cleft surgery was a success! The documentary received an Oscar nomination on January 22, 2009 in the category of best documentary short subject. And, just like a true life fairytale, "Smile Pinki" won the award! Below, view the "Smile Pinki" trailer!




Why I Chose to Research The Smile Train

I chose to research Smile Train because I believe that the organization is incredibly effective, important, and meaningful.The Smile Train helps countless children with clefts every year. These cleft victims suffer discrimination and unfairness in every day life. By fixing their "smiles," Smile Train helps give these children a new beginning! I combined this research/wiki page with my mitzvah project. A mitzvah project is a charity or good deed one does when becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the Judaic religion. In additon to learning about The Smile Train, I will be making a donation in order to provide cleft repair surgeries around the world. I hope that all readers of this page will understand the great impact of this company, and learn more about what you can do to help change the world-wide cleft issue!