Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Smile Train

I've been lucky enough to be in a position to make some donations to The Smile Train. If you're not familiar with this organization, they have figured out a way to repair cleft lips and palates in children all over the world for as little as $250, and in as little as 45 minutes. For those of us used to American medicine, this is miraculous.

How do they do it?

They train medical teams in-country using virtual training software, thereby eliminating costly travel and training expenses. Since 1999, their administration and overhead, as a percentage of total expense, has averaged about 2%. Two percent!

The Smile Train trains staff in 75 of the world's poorest countries and since 2000 has repaired cleft lip and cleft palate in more than 355,500 children. They were recently in Iraq where the circumstances dictated taking in a mobile operating theater (essentially a tricked-out 18-wheeler), where 66 children were treated and 15 Iraqi surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses were trained.

This is a remarkable organization for what they do and how they go about it. They have received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS and certified charity status from the Better Business Bureau.

Note that this post is not an official or unofficial endorsement by the Department of Defense, the Army, the AFIP, the museum, or the archives. Just me.


Mike Rhode said...

Me too. I contribute through the Combined Federal Campaign to them.

Alex said...

Greetings from Smile Train!

I recently saw your blog entries and wanted to say thank you from everyone here at the Smile Train office for your support. It truly means the world to us that you are helping us help these poor children all over the world. These children get not just a new smile, but a second chance at life.

Much like you said, we are currently working in 75 developing nations all over the world, in some of the poorest areas on Earth. Since 1999, we have helped over 355,000 children. Soon, we hope to reach a milestone where we perform more surgeries each year than children born with clefts in developing nations.

If you ever need anything from us, please dont hesitate to email me at

All the best,

Alexander Judd
Donor Relations Associate