Smile Train, Inc.

Rating: 2.96 stars   94 reviews

Address:

41 Madison Ave 28th Floor New York NY 10010 USA

Mission:

Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Our sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their communities. We use the “teach a man to fish” model focusing on training local doctors to perform cleft repairs in their communities. Those doctors then go on to train other doctors creating a long-term, sustainable system. Patients see their smile for the first time, parents cry tears of joy, lives and communities are changed forever. As a result of our efficiency and with the support of our donors and partners around the world, Smile Train has transformed the lives of more than one million children by giving them the power of a smile -- that's roughly 350 surgeries a day and 128,000+ every year. Join us and change the world one smile at a time.

Results:

Since its beginning in 1999 Smile Train has provided more than 1,000,000 free surgeries for children who would otherwise never have received it.

Target demographics:

children suffering from cleft lips and palates

Direct beneficiaries per year:

127,000+

Geographic areas served:

85+ of the world’s poorest countries

Programs:

Treatment program: free cleft surgeries - while our cost per surgery varies across the 85+ different countries where we have worked, our contribution per surgery can be as low as $250. This amount reflects the contribution per surgery that we provide our partner hospitals. They also cover a significant portion of each surgery as part of our cost-sharing agreement with our medical partners. Free medical equipment & infrastructure support - for many of our partners, access to safe operating rooms is their biggest barrier. Many struggle with old and inadequate equipment such as anesthesia machines and a lack of other equipment and supplies. Smile train provides financial support that has been used for everything from building new operating rooms to crucial safety equipment such as pulse oximeters and cleft surgical instruments and supplies including scalpels and sutures. All of these investments work to provide a significant number of incremental surgeries, but also result in safer and higher quality outcomes for children in need. Free ancillary treatment - every child with cleft needs more than just surgery. Often they also need orthodontic care and speech therapy. Where these services are available, we do everything we can to make them accessible to our patients. We pay for speech therapy sessions, orthodontic work and much more. Financial aid for poor patients - some of our patients are so malnourished they are not healthy enough to be safely operated on and are provided food for one to two weeks before surgery. Some of our patients are so poor they have no money to get to the hospital or to travel home after surgery. Sometimes they have no shoes and no money for food. We have special programs that give small stipends for these poorest of the poor. These expenses exclude $57,036,544 donated time and services from doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, organizations, companies, other medical professionals and medical facilities and supplies.

public education program: every year, people in developing countries isolate or abandon their newborn babies because they don't know a cleft is a simple birth defect and not a "curse from god. " thousands of children with clefts are never brought to hospitals for treatment because their parents don't know clefts are treatable. Thousands of people in developing countries come to smile train for information on how to find a good cleft team and how to take care of their newborn babies with clefts. Through direct mail, websites, newspapers, radio, tv, public service announcements, documentaries, public relations, social media, etc. , we raise public awareness about clefts in developing countries and in the united states.

training program: smile train provides free training and education to cleft care professionals around the world. Access to education and training opportunities is critical to smile train's mission of empowering local medical teams to provide safe, high-quality cleft care. Over the past 15 years, we have provided support for more than 1,500 medical conferences and training opportunities to improve cleft treatment in the developing world. Smile train supports hands-on and workshop-based training opportunities to improve the skill level of cleft care professionals in the developing world. Recent initiatives have focused on supporting training programs for cleft care nurses and anesthesiologists, including the development of the smile train safe nursing care saves lives program in africa that has now been scaled and implemented for smile train partners around the world. Smile train is innovative in its approach to provide quality training to medical professionals worldwide. In the developing world, surgeons often do not have access to the latest innovative techniques and updated protocols for cleft surgery. Smile train partners have conducted over one million surgeries worldwide and lacking access to such resources can be a barrier to their continuing education and quality improvement. Smile train recognized this problem and since 1999 has distributed free virtual surgery training materials to 40,000+ medical professionals in 149 countries around the world. Smile train took this technology to the next level and recently released the first open-access, web-based, interactive virtual surgery simulator designed to enhance training for surgeons on how to repair clefts. The simulator links state-of-art surgical resources to the most remote parts of the world, and changes the paradigm of surgical training internationally. The simulator was distributed to 1100+ smile train partner surgeons worldwide. Since the launch of the simulator, smile train confirmed users of the system in more than 90 countries around the world, including places where over half the population lives below the poverty level and where the per capital annual income is less than $500 per year. Through this unique approach smile train has leveraged technology to change the course of medical education while also improving the lives of children born with cleft in the developing world.

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

1-800-932-9541
www.smiletrain.org

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Reviews for Smile Train, Inc.

Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I gave to this 'Charity' and now get calls from paid callers (they even said that) CONSTANTLY!!!!
I have tried to get them to stop, now I just don't answer the phone....
The salaries of these 'not for profit' charities is regoddamndiculous!!!!
I now give to the Salvation Army, and the Salvation Army only......
I encourage you to do the same.

 
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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

On behalf of our Smile Train staff, as well as all of the children we help, thank you for your support. With your help, we have been able to provide 1,000,000+ free cleft surgeries since 1999. We apologize for the volume of phone calls that you have received and for any offense that they may have caused you, please know that was never our intention. Please provide us with your name and telephone number and we will add you to the Do Not Call list right away. You can email the information to us at: Info@smiletrain.org, attn: donor relations manager. Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any other questions or concerns. Thank you for your support of Smile Train!

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The impact that this organization has is incredible. I've been a donor and supporter of SmileTrain for a little over two years now, but I never fully understand the scope of their work until I had the opportunity to go on a Journey of Smiles in Peru. Speaking with the patients and their family gave me an entirely new perspective.

One child that particularly stands out is a 14 year old boy. He was small for his age, but he was wise beyond his years. He has that air about him. On a superficial level, I knew SmileTrain was paying for his surgery and that in itself is a wonderful thing. But, then we found out his back story and just how much it meant to him to finally get his cleft palate repaired and as much as the story was heartbreaking, it was also uplifting. Everything that this child had been through and the reason he wanted the surgery so he can become a police officer and provide for his family. And now he can and I know he will.

The average cost of a cleft palate/lip surgery globally is about $250. That's such a small amount of money in comparison to the benefits that are direct outcome from it. These kids can now attend school and go on to have normal and productive lives. And I can't wait to see all the wonderful things that these beautiful children go on to accomplish.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've been working with and donating to Smile Train over the past 3 years. They invited me to India on their Journey of Smiles trip. What an amazing experience. They are changing the lives of children around the world and one surgery is only $250. There is no cure for clefts so the need is unwavering. They have an exceptionally effective business model and have conducted over 1 million surgeries in over 87 countries. Not to mention, the staff and board at Smile Train are compromised with some of the most professional, smart, and talented group of individuals that i've ever worked with. Smile Train is an amazing charity that does amazing work.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have loved donating to the Smile Train for years. By training local doctors to perform this free surgery, they are enabling thousands of patients and their families to lead happy and fulfilled lives. I also love that all of my donations go directly to help them. And I love reading the success stories - what a blessing.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

We have been supporters of Smile Train for a couple of years. We recently had a holiday in Myanmar and in our travels visited a school in Oe Pho (a village on the Irrawaddy between Myanaung and Danubyn). The children were very excited to see us and but we noticed a young lad of about 11/12 years of age who had an unrepaired cleft and was very shy. Our fellow travellers commented and we were able to say that Smile Train has now started work in Myanmar. We hope that our recent donation will go towards children in Myanmar having surgery and their lives, like their faces, transformed.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The work of the Smile Train has an incredible impact in the life of children around the world, it goes far beyond than fixing the anatomical and functional medical problems associated to having a cleft palate. It magically touches their life by making them feel like others, not ashamed anymore of their sometimes badly desfigured faces. In many places of the world children with cleft palate and other deformities are discriminated and separated from society. The free surgeries provided by the Smile Train open for them the door to a life full of opportunities. It is a blessing for the children, their families and their entire community.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been supporting Smile Train for some time as the work they do for children and some adults with cleft pallets is amazing. This facial issue is actually relatively easy to correct - but, sadly, there are so many affected around the world who suffer from insults and are ostracized or hidden in their societies simply because they look different. It is a joy to see the smile on the face of someone who has suffered such emotional hardship and has been helped to have a smile by the Smile Train team. Thank you to everyone involved with Smile Train for the excellent and beneficial work you do.

 
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Rating: 4 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Our first kid was born with a cleft. The necessary surgery was done immediately and paid by our Czech health system. We decided with my wife to help the less lucky kids who cannot get such a treatment for free or afford it themselves.
Smile Train is good in communication - we always get nice updates and clear statistics - and easy to donate. We have been supporting them for 5 years.
Jiri Vanek, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, Europe

 
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Rating: 2 stars  

62 people found this review helpful

I have given to Smile Train for many years. Once you give to this charity you are antedated with mail asking for more money. The AIP gives them a B- rating which is not good. The reason for this rating is because a small % is actually used to help the children.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spend less on VIP salaries/overhead and more to help the children with this defect.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

What a privilege to support this AMAZING organization! It's amazing when you recognize the incredible impact this organization makes on the children and families they serve. The fact that they can have this sort of impact for an average of $250 per surgery is stunning!

Congratulations on your great success Smile Train! You make a meaningful impact on a daily basis to the lives of millions.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None, that I'm aware of.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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