DID you know that Smile Train UK is 15 years old this year? That’s right! We’ve been changing the world one smile at a time for 5,475 days (or 782 weeks if you prefer that metric) – and we have no plans of stopping there.
To mark this major milestone this month, we have decided to share 15 interesting facts about our charity and the lifesaving work that we do with Charity Today.
- 1999 – Smile Train was founded in 1999 by Charles B. Wang, a New York-based tech entrepreneur after witnessing children starving, shunned, and sick due to their untreated clefts.
- ‘Our Model’ – Smile Train’s model was inspired by an ancient proverb: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Through this approach, Charles decided to empower local healthcare professionals with the training, funding, and resources they needed to treat children in their communities – not just for a short period, but for 365 days a year. To this day, Smile Train’s model is based on this wise proverb.
- June 2006 – Seven years after Charles set up Smile Train’s headquarters in New York City, a UK entity was founded, now known as Smile Train UK.
- 540 babies – On average, 200,000 babies are born with a cleft every year. That is 540 babies a day. Sadly, more than 90% of these children will die by the age of 20 if they do not receive treatment.
- 90+ countries – Smile Train has sponsored free cleft treatment in more than 90 countries since 1999.
- £14.5 billion – A peer-reviewed study found that providing cleft treatment around the world has achieved £14.5 billion in total global economic impact.
- 45 Minutes – That’s £14.5 billion generated by a surgery that can take as little as 45 minutes.
- 1,500,000+ surgeries – Thanks to the support of all our amazing donors, fundraisers, supporters, and staff, Smile Train has sponsored more than 1,500,000 cleft surgeries for people of all ages since 1999.
- 1,100 Hospitals – We partner with 1,100 partner hospitals on five continents.
- 100% – Each one of these 1,100 Smile Train partner hospitals passes regular audits to ensure their infrastructure, systems, protocols, and personnel operate according to the highest safety standards.
- 2,100 trained medical professionals – We are incredibly proud of the many local medical professionals we have educated and empowered along the way. We have helped to train more than 2,100 medical professionals across the world in cleft care, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, orthodontists, and nutritionists, and so many others who help spread smiles every day.
- 40,000 Training Opportunities – We have supported 40,000 healthcare workers with training opportunities across the world and are constantly innovating our training methods.
- We sponsor care beyond cleft surgery – And our cleft care goes beyond surgery. We have four active programs offering essential, non-surgical means of cleft treatment around the world: speech therapy, orthodontics, nutrition, and emotional support, plus we are currently piloting programs in ear, nose, and throat services and dental care.
- Our #1 goal – At Smile Train UK, our goal is to give every child born with a cleft the opportunity to live a full and healthy life.
- We are on social media! You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by searching for @smiletrainuk.
Our next column will look at 15 unique ways you can fundraise for Smile Train UK – so keep your eyes peeled for this next month!
In the meantime, to learn more about Smile Train UK, please visit: smiletrain.org.uk.