Our Story

Our Story

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. William (Bill) P. Magee, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathleen (Kathy), a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates.

What they found was overwhelming. “People pushed their babies at us.” recalls Kathy. ”They tugged at our sleeves with tears in their eyes and begged us to help their children.” In Naga City, approximately 300 families arrived hoping their children would receive surgery, but the team could only treat 40 children. As they prepared to leave, the Magees made a promise they would return to help more children.

They began soliciting donations of surgical equipment and supplies from manufacturers, threw themselves into grassroots fundraising and assembled a volunteer team of 18 doctors, nurses and technicians for their own medical mission to the Philippines. They helped approximately 100 more patients, but again, hundreds still waited.

They saw the need and Operation Smile was born.

Today, Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 60 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 30 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 anomalies. 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.

Operation Smile in the United Arab Emirates

Operation Smile UAE was established in January 2011. We hold several fundraising events in the UAE throughout the year to raise much needed funds for overseas missions and in country missions and to increase awareness. We have hosted missions in the UAE since 2017.

Since 2011 we have developed close ties with schools, universities, hospitals and businesses, recruiting hundreds of volunteers to help with every aspect of our organisation. Whether you want to be a medical volunteer attending overseas and in country missions, a community volunteer or a student volunteer, we have an exciting and busy agenda in the coming months and invite you to join us as we seek to bring new smiles to more faces. Meet the OSUAE team  For more information contact us at: [email protected]