Smile Train

Smile Train Annual Report

The Year at a Glance

In our 2023 fiscal year (July 2022 - June 2023), donors like you helped us:

  • Transform the lives of 105,000+ children.
  • Launch partnerships with 57 surgical centers across 26 countries, including new surgical programs in Algeria, Barbados, North Macedonia, and Oman.
  • Initiate 73 new non-surgical, comprehensive cleft care programs in 25 countries, including:
    • 16 new non-surgical cleft care treatments at 14 different partners in India.
    • Our first cleft nutritional programs in the Central African Republic, Chad, Madagascar, and Afghanistan.
    • Our first cleft orthodontics programs in Togo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.
    • Our first cleft speech treatment programs in the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Morocco, Thailand, and Ukraine.
  • Launch a new state-of-the-art Smile Train Cleft Leadership Center in Vietnam.
  • Jointly publish the first-ever State of the World's Cleft Care Report with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, validating that nutritional support is vital to every cleft journey.
Smile Train CEO

Topline Stats

Smile Train 2023 Statistics
Our Impact MapOur Impact Map
Smile Train DEIBA

Inclusive Innovation and Simulare Medical

Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility (“DEIBA”) have always been at the heart of Smile Train's model.

From our founding, we have believed that actively and thoughtfully centering these principles – leveraging diverse skills and perspectives, treating everyone with respect, creating equitable opportunities for growth and development – in all that we do is not only right, but also true to all that we are and all that we strive to be. This makes us a stronger, more effective organization.

A recent example from Simulare Medical, a division of Smile Train that makes some of the world's most renowned surgical simulators, demonstrates these values in action — and why they are so important.

While these models immediately bolstered partner training efforts, a theme emerged in feedback: These don’t look like my patients. Every simulator was the color of a Caucasian baby’s skin.

We set out to create a more representative model. After considering 20 variations, Simulare Medical’s team selected the tone that was determined to be the most inclusive. The revised simulators have been well received and widely celebrated.

This is much more than a superficial change. At the core of our model is partnership, and true partnership is a two-way street.

Learn more about our DEIBA work

Comprehensive Cleft Care

Writing the Book on Clefts and Nutrition

Smile Train CCC

Did you know?

  • Babies with clefts are twice as likely to suffer severe malnutrition as those without
  • 200,000+ children with clefts are dangerously underweight
  • Between 2000 and 2020, more than 46,000 children with clefts died from malnutrition before their fifth birthday

These numbers are staggering, yet they were unknown before Smile Train uncovered them this year as part of the first-ever global scientific survey examining the deadly link between clefts and malnutrition: A Generation Lost: The Devastating Effect of Malnutrition on Children with Clefts.

Together with our local partners, we are working diligently to address this challenge, strengthening regional and community networks to deliver resources and training where they are needed most.

Efforts like these are saving children’s lives.

Read the Report
Smile Train Prisca

Prisca's Story

When Prisca was born, her family was shocked; they had never seen anyone with a cleft before. Her cleft made it impossible for her mother, Regina, to breastfeed her.

So, one day after giving birth, Regina walked for hours with her baby to get her to the nearest hospital.

Keep Reading

Education and Training

Empowered. Emboldened. Educated.

Smile Train DEIBA

With Smile Train, talented, passionate health professionals from historically marginalized regions are bringing cutting-edge medical techniques to their communities... and training their peers. This self-sustaining, global ecosystem of empowerment is saving countless lives each day, and you make it possible. Bolstered by your investments, our partners are also taking their rightful places at the world's most influential cleft care conferences... center stage.

Learn More
Smile Train Community


Strength in Community

From Dar es Salaam to Duluth, nearly everyone affected by a cleft has felt alone at one time or another. From our in-person and virtual Cleft Cons to our Love Meets Joy podcast to our brand-new College Scholarship Program, our community programs are here to send a message loud and clear to everyone with a cleft: You are not alone. Every day since our founding, Smile Train has brought people with clefts together in partnership and pride. For more than two decades, we have witnessed people who grew up never speaking about the way they were born become outspoken activists for the dignity of every face... while helping empower a whole new generation to grow up #CleftProud.

"I want everyone to know that it's okay to be different. We're all unique, whether physically or mentally. People born with a different ability can accomplish anything anyone else can."

- Ling Clobes, Inaugural Smile Train Scholarship recipient

Sara Parella:

Sadie's Eternal Smile

Smile Train patient Sadie

In her own words, Sara Parella of Virginia shares how she mustered the strength to turn her family's unimaginable tragedy into smiles for generations of children around the world.

Read Her Story

Corporate Partners

A life of health, confidence, and opportunity is the right of every child. Corporations from every industry around the world are helping us create a new generation of smiles.

Ashraya Hasta Trust
Bajaj Finserv
Dentsply Sirona
Beverly Hills MD
Snap Crack
Applied Medical
Citi Bank
Labrade Nutrition
Capital Group
Smile Train Partnering for Good

Partnering for Good

Smile Train is proud to partner with other NGOs on urgent global health issues. Few are more pressing today than the frequent power outages experienced in operating rooms across Africa.

So we joined with Kids Operating Room, a global health charity working to provide every child with access to safe surgery, to devise a solution: Solar-powered operating rooms.

As of June 2023, we had already substantially mitigated both power outages and greenhouse emissions at four Smile Train partner operating rooms in Africa, with another 40 under construction.

Learn More

Safety and Quality

Every Child Deserves Safe Surgery Every Time

Smile Train's Safety and Quality

Safe, high-quality care is always Smile Train’s number-one priority. Our promise to the patients, families, and communities we serve is to ensure the safest possible care no matter where in the world they are. We uphold this promise through an exceptional global partner network that is built on rigorous standards and accountability measures as well as a tireless commitment to leading-edge education, training, and innovation.

The reason Smile Train can enable the safest possible surgery for every child is the same reason we have been able to sponsor more cleft surgeries than every other cleft-focused organization combined: Our model of empowering local experts.

Smile Train Priya Desai

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Elizabeth Igaga: 100,000+ Cleft Surgeries a Year; One Uncompromising Standard of Excellence

Based in Kampala, Uganda, Dr. Elizabeth Igaga is Smile Train's global Director of Programs Safety. She ensures that every one of the 100,000+ cleft surgeries Smile Train sponsors each year meets the same rigorous standards of safety and quality. We caught up with this extraordinary woman to discuss her path to this role, her vision for the future of global surgery, and much more.

Get to know Dr. Igaga

Journey Ahead

In our 2023 fiscal year, you transformed the lives of 105,000+ children through safe, high-quality, comprehensive, free cleft care. You advanced critical insights into the global impact of malnutrition on children with clefts. You helped save the lives of countless babies like Prisca.

You provided talented young cleft specialists around the world with previously unheard-of educational opportunities. And you made all surgeries safer at 1,100+ healthcare centers around the world.

Thank you for helping us to make the world a healthier, safer, and happier place.

Here's to another year of life-giving smiles, those we give and those we receive.

Smile Train
Financials 2023
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©2024 Smile Train, Inc. Smile Train is a leader in efficiency, transparency, and impact. Smile Train is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit recognized by the IRS, and all donations to Smile Train are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.