Operation Smile was one of the first US non-profit organizations allowed into Vietnam after the devastating war as a symbol of hope and healing between the two nations. In February 1989, a team of 38 American volunteers, including seven Vietnam War veterans, arrived in Vietnam and began a thirty-year mission to provide free surgeries to Vietnamese children born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities. From the first 100 children whose lives and futures had been brightened, Operation Smile has now reached to over 62,000.
In 2019, Operation Smile celebrates its 30th year in Vietnam, as our work enters a new era, we continue to fight for the sustainability of each mission by training local medical experts, strengthening the local health care system, and contributing to policymaking. This ensures fundamental and long-lasting change that benefits millions. The process of healing may be long, but even the longest of journeys start with a single step.