What is Operation Smile?
Operation Smile is a global medical charity that offers free surgeries to children and young adults who are born with cleft palate and other deformities of the face. Operation Smile stands among the longest-serving charity organizations that are devoted to enhancing children’s lives and overall health. The organization offers surgical care as their primary service provided to children around the world.
The charity-based organization was founded by a craniofacial and plastic surgeon, William Magee. Partnering with his wife, Dr. William Magee founded the organization in 1982 in Virginia. Operation Smile was established to deliver surgical care in an environment with insufficient resources for such procedures. Partnering with recognized hospitals, Operation Smile volunteers train local medical specialists, offer the surgical care and donate equipment and supplies to medical facilities around the globe.
What is cleft palate?
Also known as cleft lip, this is a gap in the mouth that remains open throughout the pregnancy. The child is then born with an opening or a gap in the roof of the mouth or on the upper lip. As with any birth defect, the condition ranges from one child to another. Some have a unilateral condition that affects one side of the mouth, while others will suffer a bilateral cleft palate condition.
Various factors can cause cleft palate. The most common ones include poor nutrition, genetics, exposure to unsafe environmental hazards, and pre-existing medical condition of the parent. If not addressed early and with the proper approach, the cleft could pose a serious health condition to the child.
Who does Operation Smile help?
The organization was solely founded to offer surgical care and other medical services to children and young adults from resource-limited environments. Operation Smile only helps children that suffer from lip cleft or cleft palate, especially if they come from a family that cannot afford the surgery.
The charitable organization has registered offices in more than sixty countries. Operation Smile operates in all the major continents including America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. The headquarters is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
How can you help?
Many people are taking part in helping to enhance the services offered by Operation Smile. The organization accepts help in the form of volunteering and donation. It accepts volunteers to help in delivering medical care and other social work-related services directed to
the community. For those that wish to become medical volunteers, you may need to present valid proof of licensure. This is done with professionalism to avoid jeopardizing the lives of the children and young adults. Other ways of helping the organization include the following;
• Volunteering as a medical record expert or a translator in non-English speaking communities.
• Hosting an awareness or fundraising event in your local community, under the mandate of the organization.
• Offer local administrative support in your community.
• Establishing a student club in your community.
These are ways or opportunities that are meant to boost the services of the organization and help it advance in its mission. Before you start any event, like a fundraising, ensure that you have been given permission by Operation Smile.