Operation Smile


Project 2015 to 2016;
Support: Cycle Miles for Smiles

A Project to bring Smiles on Faces and Hearts



Operation Smile is a non-profit organization based in Norfolk, Virginia (USA), founded in 1982 by Christian plastic surgeon William (Bill) Magee and his wife Kathleen.  They operate the organization as a secular NGO and provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children and adults worldwide. To date, Operation Smile has provided reconstructive surgery to over 200,000 children and adults in more than 60 countries.


Facts on Cleft Lips and Cleft Palates


175/1000 children die before age 5 year in Sub Saharan Africa. In the UK it is 6/1000
30 000 children die each day of preventable causes - 85% in the developing world

Cleft Lip and Palate facts
There are 10 000 births per hour in the world of these 1:600 with clefts lips or palates.
Worldwide 18 babies with clefts lip and/or palates are born per hour, that is one every 3 minutes
At any time there are approximately 300 000 cleft lip and palate patients awaiting surgery




 Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.

Winston Churchill







Operation Smile is extremely well organised; for my first 10 day visit to Rwanda in 2011 they flew in 3 tons of equipment (drugs, instruments, anaesthetic equipment, everything needed), a support team of 50 people including 6 plastic surgeons, 8 anaesthetists and 1 paediatrician. We saw well over 500 hundred patients with cleft lip and palates and could operate and repair 262 patients’ defects – some patients in their 50’s and 60’s! We were Christians, Muslims, a Hindu and people of no faith working together with a common purpose and a beautiful feeling of being a team, of camaraderie.

This year I have worked with Operation Smile in Namibia and most recently in The Democratic Republic of the Congo where we did 138 operations in just over a week.





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