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What is a mission?

As a cleft lip and cleft palate foundation, our medical missions allow us to deliver safe surgeries to places where they may not be available, frequently in the developing world.

We combine the talent of medical volunteers from different countries with the best practices in surgical care to meet two goals: immediately transform the children we treat while creating self-sufficient, long-term solutions.

International missions: Lifelong partnerships and lasting infrastructure

During one of our international medical missions, a team of credentialed medical professionals from around the world travels to an Operation Smile partner country to treat children during a two-week period.

On a typical international medical mission, 300-500 children receive full medical evaluations and 100-150 children are surgically treated. We also use the opportunity to train in-country medical professionals, based on the needs of their health care workers or the facility where the mission takes place.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we conduct more international medical missions each year. View our mission schedule.

Local missions: Our partners initiate more than 60% of our missions locally

Based on our international medical mission model, teams of in-country medical volunteers conduct local missions to take care of local children throughout the year.

As the cleft lip and cleft palate foundations work toward self-sustainability, many now have clinics where children can be treated all year, receiving not only post-operative care, but also consultations on dental health, speech therapy, nutrition and psychology. More than 60% of the children we treat throughout the world are treated locally, using Operation Smile techniques and training.

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