Pedro’s Story

Pedro was born in Venezuela with a cleft lip and cleft palate. His condition meant he was bullied at school and struggled to speak clearly. In search of a better life, Pedro and his parents, Nelson and Marbelis, travelled to neighbouring Columbia. Here, they hoped to finally find treatment for Pedro’s cleft.

Once settled in a refugee camp, Marbelis learned about Operation Smile Colombia and the possibility of receiving free cleft surgery.

After receiving a comprehensive health evaluation, Pedro proves to be an ideal candidate for surgery. In a little more than an hour, Mauricio performs the surgery that Pedro deserved to have within the first few months of his life. When Marbelis sees her son’s new smile for the first time she is overcome with emotion.

Boy with a cleft lip and palate being examined by an Operation Smile volunteer

About Operation Smile

Boy with a cleft lip and palate being examined by Operation Smile medical volunteers

Operation Smile has provided safe cleft surgery to hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. However, we know that there are still millions more living with cleft conditions.

Children born with a cleft often have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. They are also often bullied and left isolated from their peers and community. For many families like Pedro’s, Operation Smile is the only hope they have to give their children the future they deserve.

For patients who receive surgery, a new life can finally begin. The care we provide gives children the confidence to pursue the wonderful opportunities they were previously unable to realise. We can only continue to provide these life-changing cleft surgeries with your help.


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 Pedro around the world.

Boy with a repaired cleft holding a photo of himself before surgery

Pedro after cleft surgery