Patient Stories

Clara's path to recovery

Born with a severe cleft lip and cleft palate, Clara of Madagascar has experienced many hardships in her young life. But we are happy to report that last May at our Antsirabe medical mission, Clara received life-changing cleft palate surgery!

A Stranger's Kindness
South Africa

Ephraim was filling gas tanks at work when an unnamed gentleman told him cleft surgery was possible through Operation Smile South Africa.

City of Smiles: Bacolod Medical Mission

The photographic story of an Operation Smile medical mission to the Philippines conducted in May 2017.

Devoted to Their Daughter

Elisa's parents, Sidonie and Jean, stopped at nothing to make sure she received safe cleft surgery from Operation Smile.

A Father's Promise Fulfilled

Today, Antonia, her father and sister laugh and enjoy the time with one another as they reminisce about the past. In precious moments like these, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a time when there wasn’t much that made Antonia smile. However, that time was 11 years ago, before her cleft lip was repaired by Operation Smile Brazil.

After 34 years, Moroccan man receives surgery

Abdellah works in a port, loading packing containers. Though he has a steady job, he has never had the means for surgery to repair his cleft lip, nor did he know a solution was available.

On a mission to spread smiles

From the moment Niño entered the hospital, he let his personality shine through the language barrier as he connected with the medical volunteers. He even helped the other children laugh, easing their nerves around being in a new place and fears of surgery.

In Paraguay, an ultrasound raises alarm

During a routine ultrasound in her final trimester of pregnancy, Karen discovered that her baby would be born with a facial deformity.

In Rwanda, a mother's quest to help her son

Alejandro was born with a cleft lip. When her son’s father learned of his birth defect, he refused to accept or even see the newborn. The clinic where Judith gave birth told her it was possible to repair Alejandro’s lip with surgery, but she would need to take care of her son and make sure he was feeding properly and gaining healthy weight.

A Mother's Thank You for Healing her Daughter

Eden Rose and Eugene’s excitement at the birth of their first child turned to despair when their daughter, Jinden Juriz, was born with a cleft lip. Both parents had seen people with cleft conditions through their work in the fish industry in Negros Occidental, Philippines, but never imagined that it would happen to their child.


“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President