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Smile Train's Sustainable Model

How we change the world one smile at a time.

Smile Train model

Smile Train is the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, with a sustainable and local model of supporting surgery and other forms of essential care for children in need. Over the last 25+ years, we have supported safe and quality cleft care for 2+ million children globally and will continue to do so until every child with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.

About Smile Train's Sustainable Model

child with cleft with his father

Locating children in need

Local staff, medical partners, and in-country volunteers raise awareness about clefts and the services that Smile Train offers through community outreach programs, media campaigns, social media, word of mouth, and by working with government institutions and health functionaries at the grassroots level. Families learn that clefts can be treated at no cost at a local Smile Train treatment partner hospital.

Smile Train partner surgeon India

Empowering local medical professionals

Smile Train provides training and financial support for treating clefts, empowering medical professionals around the world to provide children with clefts life-changing surgery and related comprehensive cleft care that they would not otherwise be able to access.

Orthodontics for cleft lip patient

Providing comprehensive cleft care

In addition to life-changing surgery, our local medical partners often provide other essential cleft care, such as feeding and nutrition counseling, speech therapy, dental care, and orthodontic treatment, to ensure that patients have the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.

What Makes Us Different

Smile Train partners with local, in-country medical professionals to sponsor cleft treatments for patients in their own communities. Our sustainable model makes us more efficient and effective than mission-trip-based organizations, as our patients can receive care 365 days a year — so every person can get the help they need.

Leveraging Technology to Create Smiles

Smile Train has always looked to technology to help train ever more local professionals so they can, in turn, reach ever more children in need.

Virtual Surgery Simulator

The Simulator is an advanced, interactive, freely-available, 3D simulation technology that provides instruction on a variety of complex cleft surgical procedures.

Smile Train Express (STX)

Our partners upload patient records to our digital patient database, which not only saves millions in shipping, handling, and storage costs, but also allows us to review and monitor the quality of their work.


We have developed mobile applications to provide children with clefts, their parents, and local speech therapists more resources and means to improve their speech and language development.