Patient Stories

When All Seems Lost, Hope Appears
Nicaragua

Shocked and heartbroken when her baby Valeska was born with a cleft lip, Zorida received more discouraging news within the first moments of her daughter’s life. No sooner than learning that surgery was possible to repair Valeska’s cleft lip, the young Nicaraguan mother was told by doctors that the procedure would be far too expensive for her and Valeska’s father to afford. The couple was informed that more affordable, possibly even free, surgical treatments could be found in Managua — a six-hour bus trip from their hometown.


The Winner
Ethiopia

U-Voice student volunteer Hidaya Abdulrahim shares the story of Ashenafi, a patient who received cleft surgery at Operation Smile surgical training rotations.


“Mummy, what happened?”
Philippines

At school Rina was bullied so badly for her cleft lip and palate that she refused to go back. An Operation Smile medical mission in Cavite changed her life forever.


Ngan's story
Vietnam

In Vietnamese, Ngan’s name means “star,” but she wasn’t able to smile brightly when she was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. 10 year after she received life-changing surgery at an Operation Smile mission, Ngan is a happy, healthy, vibrant girl


A World Smile Day Story
Ghana

Michael's mother, Filicia, overcame cultural, financial and physical barriers to seek cleft lip surgery for her 15-month-old son.


A Landmark Patient
Madagascar

During a surgical training rotation, Tsifoina became the 2,500th patient to be operated on by Operation Smile in Madagascar.


To Heal and to Comfort
Madagascar

In the local language, Mampionona's name means "to heal and to comfort." At an Operation Smile surgical training rotation, the 10-year-old boy received both.


Table 6: the table of anguish
Malawi

On every mission, after screening comes announcement day. Table 6 is where families were sent to be gently told that their child would not receive surgery this time.


Thriving Thanks to Timely Surgery
South Africa

Lungile's mother feared that it would take years for her daughter to receive cleft lip surgery before she met an Operation Smile South Africa volunteer.


Overcoming Her Obstacles
Ethiopia

Though Nazifa now has a beautiful new smile, her journey in accessing cleft care was anything but easy.


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“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President