Why become a Smile Angel?

In Ethiopia, children born with cleft are already at a disadvantage, facing severe malnutrition, stigma from their peers and speech problems. Together we can provide vital, life-changing surgery and rehabilitation services for some of the poorest, most marginalised children with cleft in Ethiopia. One operation has the potential to significantly change their life prospects forever. £150 will help transform the life of 1 patient with cleft lip and palate.

With limited access to treatment centres in rural Ethiopia, children with cleft can be left behind in school and grow up in isolation. The barriers to education are more severely felt the more severe the disability (only a quarter of children with both cleft lip and palate have ever been to school and many drop out). Facial disfigurements like cleft lip and palate put up even more barriers for rural girls - only 30% go to school prior to surgical repair. Stigma and myths surrounding their condition can also lead to them becoming isolated from their communities.

Additionally, children with cleft can become malnourished as they struggle to feed during the early years of their life. Recent research of our patients found that 65% of those under-5 were stunted or severely stunted - this is higher than the national statistic of 38%.

What can £150 provide?

  • Outreach work - We are the only organisation providing outreach services for children with cleft in the Oromia, Southern Nations, Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia. Your donation will help to train local health and social workers in the early identification of cleft.
  • Treatment - We provide essential surgery to patients with cleft, lip or palate throughout the year. 
  • Nutritional support - We work in the Afar region to provide a nutrition training programme to mothers with babies who have cleft, ensuring they meet the optimal weight of 9kg before they have surgery.
  • Speech and Language Therapy - We help to integrate cleft patients back into school with the help from our community Speech and Language Therapists, improving their confidence and empowering their lives.   

Help make someone smile. 

Thank you.