JUNE is a very special month for Smile Train UK this year, as it marks our 15th birthday as an official UK registered charity.
In case you are not already familiar with our work, at Smile Train UK we enable 100% free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to babies born with clefts globally.
Why do we do this?
Sadly, 540 babies are born with clefts every day, and many of them lack access to life-saving treatment. Without cleft treatment, babies will experience difficulties with eating, breathing, speaking, hearing and, ultimately, thriving.
Our vision is to create a world where every individual with cleft has access to safe, high-quality comprehensive cleft care and can live a productive and healthy life.
So, where did it all begin?
Well, our story began 22 years ago when Smile Train was founded in 1999 in the United States, by a New York-based tech entrepreneur called Charles B. Wang, after he witnessed children starving, shunned, and sick due to their untreated clefts.
Charles quickly set up Smile Train to address this worldwide issue and based the charity’s model around 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.
View this post on Instagram
Following 7 successful years, and thousands of forever smiles created, in June 2006 the charity decided to expand and set up a UK entity – now known as Smile Train UK.
For the last 15 years Smile Train UK have worked with countless wonderful fundraisers, donors, and supporters from across the UK, to raise vital funds for children with cleft and help to change the world one smile at a time. And we have no plans of stopping any time soon!
To learn more about Smile Train UK, please visit: smiletrain.org.uk.