Operation Smile 

Operation Smile works to ensure that no child suffers from a lack of access to safe surgery. Since 1982, we have provided over 250,000 free surgeries to children and young adults born with cleft conditions and other facial deformities. For 35 years, our medical volunteers have dedicated their time to the improvement of health and the lives of children worldwide.

As STEP Private Client Awards charity partner, your support has a direct and tangible impact on the lives of children born with a cleft in the developing world.

How has the money raised from the 2017/18 Awards supported the charity’s work?

Last year, generous donations made through the STEP Private Client Awards for Operation Smile raised £70,603.43 to provide free and safe surgical care to children who otherwise have no access to treatment.  At our international medical mission in Madagascar in 2017, 73 volunteers from UK, US, Madagascar and other countries transformed the lives and smiles of 166 patients with a range of cleft conditions.

In the isolated island nation of Madagascar, one of the world's poorest countries, there are very few nongovernmental organizations supporting the connection of impoverished patients with essential health care services. Here, malnutrition is a widespread health hazard and a significant barrier to surgery for many young patients.  

At this medical mission, 113 of the more than 520 children who received a comprehensive health evaluation were unable to receive surgery due to malnutrition. In response to this dire need, Operation Smile in Madagascar runs a patient feeding programme to help underweight and malnourished children get the nutrition they need to become healthy enough to receive surgery.

With your support, we continued to reach as many people as we can and treated our 2,500th patient to date in Madagascar.  As well as the life changing surgical care, your support is helping us reach those with an untreated cleft, providing transport, food and shelter and offering education and skills training at the mission site to further support the economic needs and futures of these families. 

Case Study

Heritiana was too unwell to undergo safe surgery at our Antsirabe medical mission in Madagascar. Your support gave him hope and the chance to return to the next mission to receive the treatment and care he needed.