SmileTrain – Changing the World One Smile at a Yime


I learned of SmileTrain some years ago and have tried to contribute what I can along the way. What got to me personally was seeing the faces of children, generally in poor countries, with severe cleft palates and trying to imagine how their life would be without help. And then learning that for only $250, the entire operation could be done and a life basically put back on track.

From the SmileTrain website:

Unlike many charities that do many different things, The Smile Train mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.
Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache.
The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.
This is our mission:
-To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
-To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.
Until there are no more children who need help and we have completely
eradicated the problem of clefts.

ChildFund International


Over the years, I have found sponsoring children through ChildFund International a truly rewarding experience. You regularly receive a progress report for each child along with where the money is being spent and how the local communities are benefiting. The best part is the interaction with the kids, writing letters back and forth, sending pictures, seeing them grow and mature, and knowing that they truly benefit from the small amount sent each month.

The ChildFund Mission from the ChildFund website:

  • To help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children living in poverty have the capacity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change to their communities.
  • To promote societies whose individuals and institutions participate in valuing, protecting, and advancing the worth and the rights of children.