Volunteer Stories


One of the world’s most experienced cleft surgeons, Dr. Ghulam Qadir Fayyaz is renowned for his tireless execution of medical missions in his homeland of Pakistan, which have served tens of thousands of patients.

Closing The Gap: Q&A with Dr. Paulin Banguti, Rwandan Anesthesiologist

Anesthesia is as vital to a surgical procedure as any instrument wielded by the surgeon. As part of Operation Smile's Global Standards of Care, it’s a medical standard that enables the delivery of the safest surgery and is essential for successful medical outcomes. While this may seem like an obvious standard — if not the most important standard — it reflects a dramatic shortcoming that the Rwandan health care system faces.

Closing The Gap: Surgical Training Rotations in Rwanda

Drawing on a history of medical missions and surgical programs in Rwanda dating back to 2010, Operation Smile revitalized its relationship with the University of Rwanda to begin hosting new Surgical Training Rotations (STRs) in October 2015. The STRs aim to close the daunting gaps in the nation’s health care system related to cleft care and plastic surgery.

A Passion for Malagasy Smiles

True passion is a rare and precious thing. In the case of Andriarimalala Solo Radaoroson, his passion for Operation Smile’s work in Madagascar changed not only his life, but numerous other lives as well.

Dedicated to children's care

I was inspired by all of the volunteers who selflessly give their time, talents, skills and knowledge to give children born with cleft conditions their well deserved smiles.

Meet plastic surgeon, Dr. Rocio Trujillo

I will never forget my first medical mission in India. I was completely speechless when I saw the amount of people in need; children of all ages and levels of need waiting. It was like a sea of people just waiting and with all odds against them, they were still grateful to be there.

One of our volunteers, Lindsay Anderson was on our recent medical mission to Ghana. She shares her experience of what inspired her to start volunteering for Operation Smile.

My first mission was to Hanoi, Vietnam – a mega mission and a very big team. It was overwhelming at first but everyone made me feel at ease and as soon as I saw the babies and children, I felt a massive sense of purpose.

Dr. Charles Kabetu: Falling into Operation Smile by chance but with much luck

Dr. Kabetu walked into work one morning to see his name was on a list posted in the operating room.

Shandra Kight: Feeling a sense of belonging
United States

“I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this moment,” said Shandra Kight, a volunteer nurse.


“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President