Operation Smile Australia is a children’s medical charity that is dedicated to helping improve the lives of children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities in developing countries.
Operation Smile Australia is one of 8 Global Resource Chapters that raises funds and awareness to support its programs. Mission teams are hosted by International Foundations that are responsible for all in-country mission logistics and that also raise funds and awareness throughout the year.
Operation Smile Australia Limited was founded in 1999 by Dr Richard Lewandowski, a Brisbane plastic, craniofacial and reconstructive surgeon, and his wife Sue, a physiotherapist.
Dr Lewandowski, one of Australia’s most respected surgeons, became involved with Operation Smile while studying at Eastern Virginian Medical School, in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Dr Lewandowski volunteered on medical missions to China, Colombia, Gaza, Kenya, Philippines and Russia. He was also involved in the medical educational training sessions, and in the training of Operation Smile International Fellows.
Upon his return to Australia, he and his wife Sue established Operation Smile Australian Limited dedicated to helping children from countries in neighbouring South-East Asia.
Since 1999, Operation Smile Australia has conducted craniofacial missions on children from developing countries, and has sent Australian medical volunteers to participate on Operation Smile cleft lip and cleft palate International Medical Missions around the world.
The World Care Program allows Operation Smile Australia to treat children who have more complicated disfigurements than can be treated during our two-week medical missions. Through the generosity of sponsors, we can arrange to have a child and a guardian brought to Brisbane, Australia where the child receives surgery. A caring host family provides a home for them during the child’s treatment and recovery, typically lasting a month. With the help of our medical volunteers, host families, generous donors and the expert services of the Mater Children’s Hospital, Queensland X-Ray and Mater Pathology the children’s faces are transformed which in turn changes the lives of these children and their families. are changed forever.
They saw the need and Operation Smile Australia was born.
Today, Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 60 countries. We've provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, we train doctors and local medical professionals in our partner countries so they're empowered to treat their local communities. We also donate medical equipment and supplies and provide year-round medical treatments through our worldwide centres.