Millions of impoverished children around the world suffer from cleft lip/palate deformities leading to isolation, social stigma, speech
defects, dental disease, and nutritional
Millions of impoverished children around the world suffer from cleft lip/palate deformities leading to isolation, social stigma, speech defects, dental disease, and nutritional
VOLUNTEER TEAM MEMBERS PAY THEIR OWN TRAVEL AND RELATED EXPENSES, DO SURGERIES FOR FREE, AND SERVE THOSE WHO WOULD NEVER RECEIVE TREATMENT WITHOUT THEM. MISSION TRIP COSTS GENERALLY RANGE FROM $10,000 TO $25,000 DEPENDING UPON THE LOCATION AND THE PROJECT. THIS UNIQUE APPROACH ENSURES DONATIONS TO THE FREE TO SMILE FOUNDATION GO DIRECTLY TO PROVIDING TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN.
Volunteer medical/dental professionals treat much more than a cosmetic deformity. We seek to eliminate potential consequences of untreated cleft lip/palate malformation. If not corrected, cleft lip and palate can lead to severe malnourishment in young children. Those who reach adolescence and adulthood often develop significant speech defects and may be ostracized from their villages because others believe they carry bad karma, are inhabited by evil spirits, and/or are being punished by something they did in a past life. A 1-2 hour cleft repair surgery gives the child and her family new hope for a full, healthy, and happy life.
In addition to helping today’s patients, we focus on helping those of tomorrow by training local surgeons on techniques so they may perform surgeries needed in their region. We are merely guests in their country seeking to help them better serve their people. Our goal is always to teach others to do what we do so that we can move on to other impoverished areas.