Each year, the STEP Private Client Awards supports a charitable organisation. Instead of charging an entry fee, we ask entrants to make a donation to our chosen charity. This year our new Charity partner is Operation Smile. 

 OS logo superhigh 300DPIImagine spending your life as a social outcast just because you have a cleft lip. For all too many people this is a reality. In countless developing countries, people born with facial deformities have no access to the simple corrective surgery that could repair their condition, and as a direct result, are left to live a life in isolation.

 One in 700 children around the world are born with a cleft condition. These children are vulnerable to negative attitudes, beliefs and stigmas that mitigate against them. They have limited access to medical facilities and their fundamental rights, such as education and health, are often compromised.

 Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has been transforming lives in the developing world since 1982. We have provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. We are one of the largest volunteer-based organisations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to safe surgical care. ETH 2016 Jimma Surgeon Per Hall 017-950 0.

Our work also goes much further than changing lives at an individual level: we leave a clear legacy in the countries we visit in terms of improved skills, equipment and knowledge. The journey begins with healing a child’s cleft; the end result is more skilled and better-equipped medical teams in the project country. This impact resonates through the local governments, ministries of health, hospitals and the surrounding communities and impacts on all general surgery. Our philosophy is aligned with The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with access to safe surgery now being included on the global health agenda.

NIC 2015 Esteli 104 Valesca Gonzacez Lopez After 122 1As STEP’s Private Clients Awards Charity Partner, your support will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of children in the developing world.  A cleft operation can take as little as 45 minutes and we perform around 16,000 operations per year. Over the 3-year partnership, donations raised could fund up to three international missions in their entirety; providing logistics, equipment and supplies for our international and local medical volunteer teams to carry out around 120-150 cleft surgeries each mission in resource-poor countries. 

 Your support will have not only a direct and immediate impact on our work with children and young adults living with facial deformities, but additionally – through our training and network of volunteers – a lifetime impact on the health systems of communities so that they are able to take care of their own needs. 

 By partnering with Operation Smile, you will help give the gift of a smile to hundreds of children all over the world and provide renewed hope to these children, their families and communities.