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Smile Train, Inc.

Rating: 2.98 stars   93 reviews 42,943


41 Madison Ave 28th Floor New York NY 10010 USA


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.


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:


Geographic areas served:

85+ of the world’s poorest countries

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Smile Train, Inc.

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

8 people found this review helpful

Smile Train is a wonderful organization. I really love the mission and seeing how a simple surgery opens the door for these kids, giving them the chance to rise to their full potential. The staff I have interacted with are all incredibly caring and dedicated, and the charity accomplishes an amazing amount with relatively few people. By all accounts the new leadership has the organization more focused and efficient than ever. Absolutely one of the best charities out there.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

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Rating: 5 stars  

My experiences witnessing the barriers to dental care motivated me to become involved with the organization Smile Train. I have fundraised for treatment for children with clefts and provided literacy to the community about cleft conditions. My involvement with this organization not only fulfilled me deeply, but also gave me a background in oral and maxillofacial terminology while also improving my communication and teamwork skills. This experience will inevitably prepare me for a career as a dentist and help me reduce health-care disparities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Smile Train is one of the best charities I have ever been involved with. As a volunteer at many of their events, I have had the chance to interact with the amazing staff who care so much about the organization. This is such an amazing cause and I am proud to be a supporter. They have changed so many lives all over the world!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I support smile train because they are amazing! Such a selfless organization helping people get corrective surgeries for cleft. 26 years ago I was born with a cleft palate. My family didnt know about smile train but I am sure they would have helped me. I enjoy volunteering in NYC with the great staff. Also the view is breathtaking. :-)
-Tiffany Dawson age 26 NYC

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Amazing work! Smile Train does life changing work that brings joy to so many lives. I am a proud volunteer and I am grateful to work for such a powerful charity.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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  

I serve on the Young Leadership Board of Smile Train and I just got back from Peru, where I met patients and actually had the opportunity to see first hand the power of smile. To most of us, smiling isn't a big deal--we just do it. We also just eat and talk and live a normal life, but Smile Train literally enables children and adults who have never been able to smile, to eat normally, to live and to be happy and it's important work. It's real work and I am glad to be a part of it.

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Rating: 4 stars  

Last year, I joined smile train as a volunteer and social media ambassador! They are changing so many children's lives and putting smiles on their faces. They always keep you informed about local and worldwide events giving you the opportunity to help in whatever way you're able to. The entire staff is amazing and they're really passionate about the children which makes you care even more! Smile Train gives children the opportunity to be children and not feel different from their peers.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

From Chicago to Mexico
Graham Elliot Takes a Journey of Smiles to Visit Smile Train’s Local Programs in Mexico

I remember like it was yesterday… I arrived in Mexico City on my Journey of Smiles hosted by Smile Train (smiletrain.org), the world’s largest cleft charity, and was greeted by the most heartwarming welcoming party imaginable; a choral group of seven children, all of who had undergone surgery to repair a cleft lip or palate. I learned that not only did the singing boost the children's sense of self-esteem, but it also acted as a form of speech therapy that the kids actually enjoyed doing.

After the joyous singing and dancing came to end, a group of us drove out of the city to visit with Jasmine, a seventeen-year-old single mother of two. The newest addition to her family, a six-week-old baby boy name Ivan, was born with a cleft lip and palate. This was not caught during her routine ultrasound so it came as a total surprise, leaving Jasmine wondering what to do or where to even start.

At that very moment all I could think about was my son Conrad who was born with a bilateral cleft lip. My wife Allie and I were also caught off guard as we knew of nobody in our family that was born with a cleft. Our doctor at that time mentioned that a bilateral cleft could be indicative of Down syndrome, so we didn’t know what to expect or prepare for. Although we sympathized greatly with Ivan’s mother considering our similar situation, we reassured her that everything was going to be fine because she was in good hands with Smile Train. We even showed before and after photos of Conrad's surgery so she could get a sense of what to expect.

We're happy to say, little Ivan has received his first surgery. Allie and I are hoping to make it back down to Mexico City to assist in any way and be there for support. It's safe to say that Ivan will need some additional surgeries, but with Smile Train's outreach and ability to create sustainable ways to repair clefts, he's most certainly set up for success.
It was great to see firsthand that Smile Train is there to help turn those dreams into a reality. I am happy that I was also able to share my story with one of Smile Train’s patients while in Mexico, giving them comfort in knowing that they are not alone. All parents want the same thing for their children – a long, happy and healthy life.

(Photo Credit: Baby Ivan and me just after I finished giving him his midday bottle.)

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Review from #MyGivingStory