Four million children around the world
are waiting and hoping that one day,
someone will come along and help them.
You could be that someone.
Changing The World One Smile At A Time.
For millions of children suffering with
unrepaired clefts in developing countries,
Smile Train is their only hope.
They sometimes come from hundreds of
By foot, by bike, by boat, by bus, by
scooter. By walking through jungles and
deserts and over mountains and through
They come carrying their babies on their backs. With no money in their
pockets. They go into debt and borrow money from neighbours to pay for the trip.
They sell their rickshaws. Their rugs. Their chickens.
They do whatever they have to do to get their child to a Smile Train hospital.
No matter how far away it is. No matter how much money they have to borrow.
They know this may be their only chance for their child to receive the cleft
surgery they desperately need.
We are their only hope.
They arrive at our hospitals hungry and exhausted.
Scared. Worried. With desperation in their eyes. You don’t
need to know a word of their language to understand that
they are begging you to please help their child.
Most of these children have been waiting for this
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for
a very long time.
Some have waited for 5, 10 or 20
years for this moment. We operated on a woman recently
who had been waiting 45 years.
Those are long, painful years of suffering and
heartache. Imagine waiting 45 years for a surgery that
takes just 45 minutes.
A surgery that every British baby born with a cleft
receives automatically, soon after they’re born.
In developing countries 95% of these children never
Because their parents – who make less than 60p
a day – could save for their entire lives and never be
able to afford surgery.
Because the hospitals are poor and the doctors are
poor and the governments are poor.
Because for governments in developing countries,
problems such as malaria, TB and AIDS are at the
top of the list.
And boys and girls with clefts aren’t even on the list.
Helping children no one else will help
is what Smile Train is all about.
Delivering miracles to the
poorest of the poorest countries
in the world.
And giving desperate children
a second chance at life.
Being born with a cleft
in a developing country is one
of life’s cruellest punishments.
In developing countries,
many babies born with
clefts are killed or
Children with clefts are
Children with clefts not allowed to attend
may never marry. school or get a job.
Children with clefts
are taunted and teased
Most of our patients and their families live on less than 60p a day.
Children with clefts are often hidden away out of Clefts are really
shame and ignorance. an economic problem,
not a medical one;
the only reason these
children don’t receive
surgery is because
they are poor.
Life with a cleft is a long
and painful struggle.
95% of children born
with clefts in developing
Clefts are seen as a
curse and evil omen.
Cleft palates make it
impossible to eat
or speak properly.
Cleft surgery is a modern-day medical miracle;
In just 45 minutes it can change a child’s life forever.
It can completely It’s a very It doesn’t matter
fix even the simple how old you are:
most severe cleft.
surgery. 3 months or
It can be 90 years.
performed under It costs
local anaesthetic. as little as
It takes It provides
as little as breathtaking
It doesn’t require
benefits last a
It’s extremely It is so dramatic,
safe, with a some mothers don’t
recognise their baby
99.99% It gives a
success rate. zycnzj.com/http://www.zycnzj.com/
child not just a
It helps children
new It can
for the first time
but a second alife
in their lives. chance at life. forever.
Instead of sending doctors into developing
countries on medical missions, Smile Train
empowers local doctors to perform cleft surgeries.
Teach a man to fish: our unique strategy. It is more productive.
We were the first cleft charity to pioneer this Mission groups
approach – it’s better than the mission model operate and leave.
for many reasons… They don’t teach or
train. They don’t
It is much more cost-effective.
provide financial aid.
A local doctor in a developing country can
perform surgery for a fraction We teach, we train,
of what it costs a we provide money
mission group. for equipment and
financial aid. Our
Our £150 cost-per-
hospitals provide free
surgery is 85% less
cleft surgery 365 days a year.
than a typical
mission group. It is more respectful.
When a mission group comes to a poor
It is safer.
community, takes over a hospital and pushes
aside the local doctors, it can demoralise them.
Our approach makes the local doctors and
but when you perform
nurses the heroes of their community.
100 surgeries in 5 days
and then pack up and leave, you sometimes It’s by far the best way to build self-sufficiency.
leave patients at risk. Empowering local doctors and hospitals is the
Complications and emergencies often arise best way to make them self-sufficient, give them
a day, week or month after surgery. Smile Train a helping hand and provide them with everything
surgeons do not leave. they need to solve the problem of clefts
themselves. After more than 10 years and over
500,000 surgeries, we know this strategy works.
It ensures higher quality surgery.
Surgeons who go on these missions may not
have operated on a cleft since medical school.
The average Smile Train surgeon performs hundreds,
sometimes thousands, of cleft surgeries every year.
Our surgeons perform cleft surgery every day.
Smile Train is different to
other children’s charities.
Focussed on a single, solvable Managed like a business.
problem: clefts. We have built a charity that is
Unlike most charities that do a little well-managed, frugal and productive.
bit of everything, we’re trying to solve No programmes are approved without
one specific problem. And we’re not a defined strategy that has objectives
searching for a cure – we have the and goals. Performance of programmes
‘cure’ – a simple surgery that can take and people is measured and monitored
as little as 45 minutes. The only reason closely. Better management enables us
children in developing countries do not to help many more children, pound for
receive surgery is because they are poor. pound, than any other cleft charity in
This is an economic problem – not a the world.
medical one – and it is 100% solvable.
A frugal mindset and low overheads.
Always putting safety and quality first. We have just 43 employees. Most of our
Smile Train sets the standard for cleft country managers around the world work
“There are a million different ways surgery safety and quality worldwide. from their homes. Excluding fundraising,
to make someone laugh, but I must Our Medical Advisory Boards establish our overheads are a rock bottom 0.5% of
say, The Smile Train is one of the
the safety standards and protocols that our total expenses.
best ways I have ever seen to help
someone smile.” every Smile Train partner hospital must Financial scrutiny and accountability
– Robin Williams meet. They review all of our surgeries, that is unprecedented.
programmes and medical training and
education to ensure we meet the absolute We trust our partners, but we audit
highest standards. them too. We require our partners to
submit a patient chart for every surgery
Strategic, innovative and driven they perform. We review thousands of
by technology. these every month to make sure they
Every charity has a big heart. We strive to are following the rules.
have a big brain as well. We don’t just Our goal is to go out of business.
work hard, we work effectively. Our strategic
thinking and business model has been We chose to focus on clefts because it
copied by hundreds of other charities. is a solvable problem. Ten years later,
We’ve pioneered new technology such as we’ve made significant progress. We are
virtual surgery software, a digital patient confident that within the next 5 -10 years,
chart and the world’s largest virtual cleft every child in the world who is waiting
library. Tens of thousands of pages of for surgery will be helped and our work
“It’s incredible the number invaluable cleft-related information that will be done.
of children’s lives transformed can be accessed with the click of a mouse.
by The Smile Train.”
– Bette Midler
Free surgeries provided since inception.
“There are a lot of children out 100,000
there who so desperately need help, 50,000
but can’t receive timely care because
their families cannot afford this 0
surgery. Working with Smile Train, FY99 FY00 FY01 FY02 FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09
if I can make a difference in
their lives, it will certainly make
In just ten years, Smile Train has provided
me feel honored and blessed.” free cleft surgery for more than 529,570 children
– Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who would otherwise never have received it.
More than one million donors
have come on board so far.
Hundreds of leading corporations and the most
respected foundations support us.
We work hard to earn their support. Of many thousands of
charities in the UK, they’ve chosen us because we’re cost-
effective, well-managed and one of the most productive
charities in the world.
Thousands of schools and colleges raise money
There is nothing more poignant than to see children
raising money to help other children. In primary schools
and secondary schools and at all kinds of universities,
tens of thousands of students are working hard to help
children they will never meet.
Young and old, people from all walks of life.
“Here is £2 from my piggy bank, please help those
children”, says the note from a 5-year-old. Many letters
begin...“My daughter...my brother...my mother...my
friend...my neighbour...was born with a cleft.” Sometimes
it says, “Our class, our office, our team, our church, our
club, our family decided to raise money for you...”
From boys and girls in primary schools to 90-year-olds in
old people’s homes, from billionaires to lorry drivers, the
one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Smile Train
is worth supporting.
Many of the most successful and admired
people in the world believe in us.
In addition to sending generous donations, many
of our high-profile supporters help us in other
ways. Some have even travelled to Africa, China
and Haiti to visit our hospitals and meet children
How you can help give a ch
Send us a donation Remember us
of any amount. in your Will.
Find us five
how many more
children we Tell everyone you meet
could help! about us and why
you support us.
Introduce us to
could help us. Ask your local
newspaper or regional
TV news programme
to talk about us.
Organise your own
fundraising event. Get your children and
their school involved.
Send a letter or email
to all your friends,
family and colleagues.
hild a second chance at life.
Visit one of our
and meet some
of the children
Send us good
Donate a portion
(It’s good for
Ask if you can speak
about us at your Visit our website at
church, synagogue or www.SmileTrain.org.uk
other place of worship. zycnzj.com/http://www.zycnzj.com/
Sign up to be a
Ask your friends and
family to help.
For 20 years, I’ve travelled to some of the poorest places in the world.
To Inner Mongolia, where some children are so poor they’re living in
caves. To the slums of Haiti, where some children are so hungry they eat
biscuits made out of mud. To Northern Uganda, where 20,000 children have
been abducted and forced to become slaves and child soldiers. Where I also
met a 7-month-old baby who weighed just 7 pounds. From Kabul to Kolkata,
from Gaza to Guangzhou, from the Nile to the Amazon, I have seen the face
of extreme poverty.
In these hard, Godforsaken places, I have learned many lessons they
never taught me at university.
I learned about selflessness from a poor woman who heard a newborn baby with a cleft crying at
the side of the road so she took her home and raised her as her own. I learned about compassion from a
76-year-old surgeon in India who has spent the past 45 years at a mission hospital helping the poor. I
learned about strength from a woman who carried her 2-year-old baby on her back for two weeks through
a jungle to reach our hospital. And I learned about courage from thousands of desperate children who
faced life every day with disfigured faces and no hope of ever being helped.
The most important lesson I learned was that miracles are possible.
The first one I witnessed was 15 years ago. In an operating theatre, I watched the dramatic
transformation of a 10-year-old Chinese girl. After surgery I carried her to the recovery room. When she
woke up, a nurse handed her a mirror. Her mother and I watched 10 years of tears stream down her
cheeks as she stared at her new smile and began her new life.
That day didn’t just change her life – it changed mine.
Since that day, I have met thousands of children who’ve undergone the same miraculous surgery.
Children of every age, race and religion who have been saved thanks to Smile Train.
Giving over 500,000 children a second chance at life is something we’re all very proud of.
But Smile Train still has many miles to go.
Millions of children in developing countries are still
waiting for their miracle. For most, Smile Train is their
These boys and girls need our help – and we need yours.
Will you help us make just one miracle happen?
I promise you it will put a smile on your face too.
Co-Founder / Chairman
The Smile Train UK, PO BOX 908, Northampton NN3 0BE Tel: 0870 127 6269 www.SmileTrain.org.uk Registered Charity No. 1114748