When Elisa was born, her parents’ joy lasted only for a fleeting moment before they saw her cleft lip and cleft palate. In an instant, their hopeful excitement gave way to overwhelming sadness. Elisa’s parents were told that surgery could help their daughter, but the procedure would come at a steep cost for the poor farming family from Madagascar.

Elisa’s cleft lip and cleft palate made it difficult for her to breastfeed and she soon became underweight. Spoon feeding ensured that she survived until she could begin eating solid foods.

Finally Elisa’s parents learnt that Operation Smile provides free, safe cleft surgeries and would be conducting a medical mission in Tamatave. A comprehensive health evaluation determined that Elisa was healthy enough to receive surgery to repair her cleft lip. Her parents were overjoyed to learn that her life would soon be forever changed.

When the family returned home, their neighbours were shocked by the difference in Elisa’s appearance and slowly, Elisa’s sweet personality began to shine through.

Elisa today with her parents


It takes only 45 minutes and as little as £150 to give a new smile to a child. All of our supporters give renewed hope to children like Elisa around the world.

Elisa after surgery

Elisa after surgery



At Operation Smile, we envision a future where health and dignity are improved through safe surgery.

Safe surgery means providing patients with the highest quality of care, based on the highest medical standards, no matter where they live. 

Cleft is the third most common birth defect worldwide. In as little as 45 minutes, free safe surgery can give a child a chance to live a normal life 

A child born with a  cleft may suffer from: – Hunger and thirst – Difficulty with speech – Social isolation and bullying 


With 35 years of expertise, we continue to provide life-saving reconstructive cleft surgeries and increase our overall surgical safety, quality and capacity worldwide.


See how our generous medical volunteers are changing lives around the globe

Bringing hope to Sidonie

When Sidonie was born, her parents were shocked to see her mouth. They didn’t know how they could afford the surgery that could change their daughter’s life. Until they learnt that Operation Smile was organising a medical mission in their country.

More than smiles

In Ethiopia, Operation Smile is helping to strengthen the country’s health system through specialised training and education programmes while continuing to provide patients with world-class levels of surgical care. UK plastic surgeon Per Hall is leading the project.

It takes only 45 minutes and as little as £150 to give a new smile to a child.


If you want to learn more, you can get in touch with our Supporter Care team by phone on: +44 (0)20 3475 5126 or by email at: info@operationsmile.org.uk