Arlyn was born in the Philippines with a cleft lip. Despite the efforts of her parents Dominga and Marcos, including a 12-hour bus journey to Manila in search of medical care, they couldn’t find the help they needed.

“I pray for her that someday Arlyn’s lip will be okay. I teach her how to pray every night. Lord please help me. Give me good health every day. Make my lip well.”

Finally, Dominga’s prayers are answered, and the family learns of an Operation Smile medical mission in their part of the Philippines.

“Arlyn will be pretty. And when she grows up, she will see a picture of herself as a child. She will compare her picture and say, ‘Mama, when I was a child my lip was open, but now I am pretty.”

Dominga is filled with gratitude. “I pray to God that he will help those who help me and my child.”

Sad girl with a cleft lip


Woman in church praying for help for daughter's cleft lip

Operation Smile has provided safe cleft surgery to hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. For many families like Arlyn’s, Operation Smile is the only hope they have to give their children the future they deserve

Find out more about Arlyn’s journey by reading our featured article in The Irish Catholic.


It takes only 45 minutes and as little as €180 to give a new smile to a child, but your gift is more than a surgery. All of our supporters give renewed hope to children like Arlyn around the world.

Girl with a repaired cleft lip

Arlyn after cleft surgery