Posted by Hilary Evans, Senior Giving & Engagement Officer Operation Smile Canada

Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. It is one of the most common birth defects, affecting 1 in 700 births across the globe. When left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues such as difficulty speaking, dental problems, ear infections, and difficulty eating and swallowing which can lead to malnutrition and even starvation. In addition, because of their facial differences, these children are socially isolated, teased and bullied. Without corrective surgery, over 90% of children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate will not live to see their 20th birthday.

Over 65% of the world’s population lacks access to safe surgery that is safe, timely and affordable. This lack of access is a major problem with devastating consequences and means that easily treatable conditions like cleft lip and cleft palate, can become fatal.
Operation Smile is a global medical charity providing free surgery for patients born with cleft conditions. Surgery to repair a child’s cleft condition takes on average 45 minutes and can cost as little at $240. This is possible thanks to the generous contributions of local and international medical professionals who volunteer their time, as well as corporate partners that donate the critical supplies and equipment necessary to deliver safe surgery.
Operation Smile goes beyond the initial lip and palate surgeries to deliver complete care, providing the child all the necessary comprehensive services they may require throughout their journey. Services like dental, speech therapy, psychology, nutrition, orthodontics, and social work. We deliver these services through 31 established Care Centers. Laura is a regular visitor and patient at the care centre in Bogotá, Columbia. Her first visit was when she was two days old. Her cleft condition has required five surgeries over the past 12 years. Her dental and orthodontia work has been extensive. Almost a teenager now, Laura currently receives speech-language therapy and orthodontia.
Another priority is educating and training local medical professionals so they can learn best-practice corrective surgery and care. Operation Smile’s Standards of Surgical Care is so high, it is part of the World Health Organization’s Global Standards for Surgery. We’re proud that 85% of volunteer medical positions on our missions last year were filled by medical professionals from low- and middle-income countries, the majority of whom received training from Operation Smile.
We have just launched a global initiative with our country counterparts around the world with a focus to double our impact over the next five years. In order to reach this goal, we are eager to build meaningful partnerships with Rotary International at the Club and District levels. Your consideration to partner with Operation Smile will not only save lives but transform the lives of deserving children and their families around the world!   
Please contact Hilary Evans at or 613-277-4676 to arrange an initial meeting or speaking engagement. For Club’s in District 7040 located in the USA, Hilary will be happy to connect you with our counterparts at Operation Smile Inc.