Smile Train’s President and CEO, Susannah Schaefer Inaugurates the 18th Indocleftcon Conference


Smile Torch Initiative Launched on National Cleft Day

Varanasi – Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO of Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, inaugurated the 18th edition of the Indocleftcon Conference at Varanasi on 8th February 2019. Indocleftcon is an annual conference organized by the Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies which brings together experts from the medical fraternity to discuss medical improvements in cleft lip and palate treatment. Smile Train has been supporting the conference as a part of its commitment to training and upskilling local medical professionals in cleft care.

“One of the founding principles of Smile Train is our commitment to establishing and building local capacities by partnering with local medical professionals and hospitals in the country and investing in their training. This ensures that medical facilities are available to children 365 days a year. We leverage the ‘teach a man to fish model’. Smile Train supports regular trainings for the surgeons and nurses, in order to equip them with the best education and technology in cleft care. One such endeavour is promoting the exchange of knowledge by supporting Indocleftcon. We are proud of this knowledge partnership and reiterate our contribution in every possible manner to the larger goal of a smiling world,” said Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO, Smile Train.

Smile Train’s vision is to transform the lives of children with clefts by supporting free, safe and quality cleft treatment through our local partner hospitals globally. In the past 19 years, Smile Train’s India program has supported more than 500,000 free cleft surgeries, giving children not just a new smiles, but  second chances at life.

On the occasion, Smile Train and the Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies launched the Smile Torch initiative  in honor of National Cleft Day. National Cleft Day is a day reserved in India to remind ourselves of the many children with clefts in India that still need cleft treatment and have difficulty breathing, eating and speaking. A cleft walk is also taking place on the ghats of Varanasi on 9th February.

Dr Puneet Batra, President Elect, Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies shared, “The Smile Torch is a symbol of hope for cleft patients across the country. Members of our society will participate enthusiastically as the Smile Torch moves across the country.”

Mamta Carroll, Smile Train’s Vice President and Regional Director for Asia, shared, “The Smile Torch will travel across the country at Smile Train’s 160+ partner hospitals, and continue to remind us all that children with clefts need our support. On National Cleft Day, we pledge to continue strengthening our programs in the country. Varanasi is a very special city for us, and we thank all of our partner hospitals and media professionals for their continued commitment and support for our programs.”

In Varanasi, Smile Train India has supported more than 75,000 cleft surgeries and partners with hospitals such as GS Memorial Hospital, Heritage Hospital and Smayan Hospital.

Smile Train at Indocleftcon 2019


About Smile Train

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's India’s sustainable approach, please visit

About Indocleftcon

Indocleftcon brings experts from the medical fraternity together, to discuss medical improvements in cleft lip and palate. The delegates are exposed to enlightening medical sessions, video case studies, scientific papers, and guest lectures, through the conference. This year over 200 delegates including plastic and maxillofacial surgeons, speech and language pathologists, ENT surgeons, pediatricians, orthodontists, maxillofacial surgeons, dentists and experts on maternal and foetal medicine attended the conference.

Press Contact

Smile Train India

Anjali Katoch, Senior Director, Communications and Business Development, India

+91 8882088807