Why Clefts?

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

boy with untreated cleft lip

Why Cleft stats. Important measures about Cleft being so important

Every 3 minutes

another baby is born with a cleft.


in global economic impact achieved as a result of cleft treatment.

Give Every Child the Chance to Smile

Since 1999, Smile Train has supported more cleft surgeries than all other global charities combined. Smile Train has always championed partnering directly with local hospitals to strengthen regional health systems and empower local medical professionals to offer cleft surgery and other forms of essential care to children in their own communities.

Learn More About Our Model

Why does Smile Train focus on clefts?

Instead of doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that like many charities, Smile Train decided to choose one specific problem that affects children and try to solve it.
We chose clefts because:

  • By focusing on clefts, we can be much more effective and productive. That's why we work with 20,000+ cleft professionals around the world.
  • Clefts are a serious medical condition affecting the lives of millions of people globally.
  • Cleft treatment is safe, effective, and lifesaving when people have access to it.
  • The impact of cleft surgery is dramatic, immediate, and permanent! This is one of the best low-cost, high impact interventions in the world - a true modern-day medical miracle that changes a child’s life forever.
  • Children who have received cleft treatment from our partners feel inspired to pursue their dreams because their every smile is a reminder that anything is possible.