Volunteer Stories

Discovering The Causes Of Cleft, Part 1

This story is the first of a two-part feature on the International Family Study.

Nuala's story

Nuala Dee, one of our volunteer nurses from Cork, recently returned from a medical mission in Honduras. We caught up with Nuala to find out about her trip, her love for Operation Smile, and how she's been impacted by her volunteering experience.

New Smiles in Honduras

Professor Michael Earley is a consultant plastic surgeon who worked for many years at Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street. You may have read his recent mission recap from Honduras in our February ‘Smile News’, but if not then here’s a chance to catch it again

Improving Patient Safety in Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Health and Operation Smile are collaborating to improve the country's standards of surgical care.

Jackie's story
United Kingdom

Jackie Matthews works as Clinical Nurse Specialist specialising in the care of infants and young children born with cleft conditions, but she is also an Operation Smile volunteer. "I consider myself lucky because I can see for myself the difference we can make together - to so many children and their families. My work doesn't end with a mission - it continues and multiplies as I can tell other people what I have seen."

Dedicated to children's care

I was inspired by all of the volunteers who selflessly give their time, talents, skills and knowledge to give children born with cleft conditions their well deserved smiles.

Meet plastic surgeon, Dr. Rocio Trujillo

I will never forget my first medical mission in India. I was completely speechless when I saw the amount of people in need; children of all ages and levels of need waiting. It was like a sea of people just waiting and with all odds against them, they were still grateful to be there.

One of our volunteers, Lindsay Anderson was on our recent medical mission to Ghana. She shares her experience of what inspired her to start volunteering for Operation Smile.

My first mission was to Hanoi, Vietnam – a mega mission and a very big team. It was overwhelming at first but everyone made me feel at ease and as soon as I saw the babies and children, I felt a massive sense of purpose.

Dr. Charles Kabetu: Falling into Operation Smile by chance but with much luck

Dr. Kabetu walked into work one morning to see his name was on a list posted in the operating room.

Shandra Kight: Feeling a sense of belonging
United States

“I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this moment,” said Shandra Kight, a volunteer nurse.


“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