Project #1203

Free Cleft Surgery for 600 Poor Chinese Children

by Smile Train

January 6th, 2012, New York, NY— Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft charity with over 2,200 partner surgeons operating in over 1,100 partner hospitals in over 80 countries, today announced that it has performed its 250,000th cleft repair surgery in China, since it began operations there in 1999. All 250,000 surgeries have been performed by local Chinese surgeons.

Smile Train was founded in 1999 with the mission of providing every child born with a cleft the same opportunities in life as a child born without.

This milestone, marked by three reconstructive surgeries performed simultaneously by three local surgeons in three operating rooms in General Coal Hospital in Beijing, China, reflects the impact of the Smile Train model and how small donations can make large changes in children’s lives. Seven celebrities from different professional fields were also on hand to help celebrate this surgery milestone, including Kun JIANG, Zhao Ming and Zhou Zhibo. Charles B. Wang, Co-Founder & Chairman commented on the charity’s milestone accomplishment: “Our collaborations with locally-based surgeons and partner hospitals around the world enable us to help so many children in need. We are so proud to have achieved this record-breaking number of surgeries in China as we strive to reach a goal of 750,000 surgeries performed throughout the world by June 2012.”

Smile Train closely collaborates with the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China [MOH], the China Charity Federation [CCF], the Chinese Stomatological Association [CSA], and partners with 397 hospitals throughout the country.

Smile Train uses the latest technology to provide efficient surgeries to children around the world. The organization created the first virtual surgery software for cleft and produced an entire library of advanced 3-D animations used to train thousands of surgeons around the world.

“With a donation of $250 we are able to provide a child with a second chance at life and are thankful to have such dedicated people working to improve the lives of these children,” said Priscilla Ma, Smile Train Executive Director. “We also thank our generous donors for making this possible.”

Thanks to our wonderful donors, Smile Train's programs in China continue to grow and expand as we head towards the new year. Desperate children who would otherwise never be able to afford life-changing cleft sugery are able to receive new smiles and new lives through your generosity.


Shandong Province, China -

"I once read a saying in a magazine: defective children are angels from Heaven. Because God favors them too much, signs are made on their body so that they can be found at any time." - Smile Train Patient, Li Dungang

Li Dungang After his Smile Train Celft Lip Surgery Li Dungang received Smile Train surgery on June 12, 2006 at Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University Medical College: a secondary cleft lip surgery at the age of 23. A hardworking student, from a family of poor, rural farmers, Li Dungang was lucky that his parents were able to save enough money to provide him with his primary cleft lip surgery as a child. However, as he grew older, his face changed and the scarring on his lip became more visible, leading to taunting and humiliation. Li Dungang found comfort in his studies, determined to forge his own path,

I knew that as far as a rural child was concerned, to do well in school was the only way to notch up a success...I knew that I had to make a greater effort than others if I wanted to go to college: it was a common occurrence to get up to study at two or three o’clock in the morning. Only by this way could I change my destiny."

Li Dungang now outside of work All of the studying paid off and Li Dungang was accepted into college. He struggled to pay his way through school living primarily off of a month's supply of rice pancakes that his mother would make for him on his routine visits home. As he celebrated his acceptance into China University of Political Science and Law, tragedy struck and his mother fell seriously ill requiring him to send what little money he earned on the side back to his parents for her medical bills rather than towards his education. Li Dungang returned home to visit his sick mother and visited our Smile Train partner once more to follow up on his previous surgery. Smile Train Cleft Lip Surgery Patient Li Dungang Now While he was there, he explained his situation and how he feared he would have to drop out of school in order to help his parents through the even more difficult times. The staff introduced him to the new Smile Grant program and he received a small grant that he could use to help his family while he returned to school. Smile Train staff also nominated him for a scholarship through the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. He was awarded the scholarship to cover the rest of his education and graduated with a degree in law. With the guidance of Smile Train Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Regional Programs Dr. Shell Xue, Li Dungang was able to secure a job at a Shandong Province Court where he is now thriving and taking every opportunity to help those in need.

"In my life, I try to help people around me who are in trouble. I smile at strangers as much as possible, it brings me and them a sun-like warmness and sedateness. Life is a mirror, when you smile in front of it, it will also smile and the same for when you cry. It all depends on your attitude towards life."
Tian, China, Hebei Priviledge Hospital, Before
Tian, China, Hebei Priviledge Hospital, Before

We are proud to report that Smile Train partners have provided free cleft lip and palate surgery to 208,711 Chinese children since 2001.

In addition, Chung Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan will be hosting The 6th International Workshop on Surgical Techniques in Cleft Lip & Palate and Maxillofacial Surgery from September 27-29, 2010 ( Smile Train has sponsored scholarships for 160 partners from around the world to attend.

Tian, China, Hebei Priviledge Hospital, After
Tian, China, Hebei Priviledge Hospital, After
Baojing Lai, Age 1, Before
Baojing Lai, Age 1, Before

The Smile Train is proud to have awarded 140 Special Ancillary Treatment Grants to partner hospitals throughout China in May 2010. This funding will give our partners the support they need to offer important cleft-related ancillary treatment for free for Smile Train patients. Children, who cannot afford treatment, will now be able to benefit from free speech therapy, orthodontics, dental work, and other kinds of ancillary care. This support will also help our partners purchase new medical equipment that will allow them to improve the safety and quality of cleft care they provide and will help them increase the number of patients that they treat.

Key Accomplishments in China • Over 202,377 children treated since 2001. • 26,506 projected surgeries this year. • 397 partners throughout China. • 85 Smile Grants distributed to partners. • 36 Awareness Grants distributed to date. • 80 Ancillary Treatment Grants provided to date. • 140 Special Ancillary Treatment Grants provided to date.

Baojing Lai, Age 1, After
Baojing Lai, Age 1, After

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Smile Train

Location: New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Smile Train
Project Leader:
Adina Wexelberg-Clouser
Donor Relations Associate
New York, New York United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in China or in Children that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.