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Operation Smile Research Paper

Essay by   •  February 7, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,515 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,335 Views

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Andrew Woods



Operation Smile research paper

Around the world there are hundreds or possibly thousands of non-profit organizations in service. By definition such organizations "exist for educational or charitable reasons... from which its shareholders or trustees do not benefit financially." ( This definition encompasses every type of non-profit organization, however all non-profit organizations do not have the same specific goals or purpose. For example, some non-profit organizations may focus on environmental issues while others may have religious or political goals. Another type of non-profit organization is one that dedicates its services to providing health care for those who would not otherwise be able to attain it; one such organization is Operation Smile. Operation Smile is a community based organization dedicated to aiding underprivileged children who suffer from cleft palate, lip, or burn disfigurement by providing reconstructive surgery free of charge.

While Operation Smile's primary goal is to aid individual children who suffer from facial deformities, the organization employs a community-based approach to its efforts. Operation Smile travels to communities in countries across the globe launching missions to help the children of these communities. In 1999 alone Operation Smile performed the largest mission dedicated to surgically correcting cleft lips and palates, the World Journey of Hope, which covered 18 countries and helped 5,000 children in the communities of these countries. (

Although the World Journey of Hope may have been the largest mission performed by operation smile to date there have also been other specific missions that illustrate Operation Smile's commitment to community based treatment; one such example involves the formation of a surgical clinic in Kenya. This clinic is devoted solely to performing surgeries typical of Operation Smile, which mainly involve the correction of facial deformities for children. Over the past year this clinic has operated in the Kenyatta National Hospital, located in Nairobi, and has performed correctional surgery on over 100 children with cleft lips or cleft palates. (Africa News, Kenya) Another example of a project launched by Operation Smile that is clearly community based involves a partnership with the United Coconut Planters Bank of the Philippines. This partnership concentrated on providing treatment to children of coconut farmers working in Masbate, thus promoting the welfare of the coconut farming community there. (Business World, 2005)

With all the service Operation Smile performs overseas it can be questioned if the organization is blind to the needs of impoverished children located in communities of the United States, who may suffer from similar deformities as children abroad. However, in its mission to help underprivileged children in need in other countries Operation Smile does not turn a blind eye to those children suffering in the U.S. The U.S. care network was formed by Operation Smile as a community contact system through which children in need can locate treatment within the United States. ( Thus, Operation Smile covers nearly all of its bases overseas and within the U.S. by providing community based treatment to those in need.

Since Operation Smile is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing service free of charge to those in need, it is logical that their opinions on right to treatment are based on the level of economic need the patient is in. Operation Smile's objective is to offer treatment to as many children as possible who are in need of reconstructive facial surgery, however they do not extend their services to those who would otherwise be able to afford the surgery on their own. One example which clearly illustrates the clientele that Operation Smile offers service to occurred in the Philippines; the organization provided surgical repair or oral prosthetics to children with extremely limited access to such surgeries due to monetary shortage and a shortage in medical resources. It was proven that children who received surgery were accepted more readily by their peers than they would have otherwise been had they not received surgery. (The Cleft Palate; Craniofacial Journal) Such information demonstrates Operation Smile's impact on the lives of the children that it serves as well as the circumstances surrounding its patients. Another example, which demonstrates Operation Smile's overall opinion concerning who deserves the right to treatment from their organization, occurred in Silay City, Negros. Over 2,500 patients have been cared for by Operation Smile in Negros due to the overwhelming number of children whose parents do not have the money to pay for surgery. (Business World, 2005) Thus Operation Smile strives to serve as many patients as possible with the funding they have available to them. However, patients are generally only eligible for treatment if Operation Smile judges their level of economic need to be sufficient so that they would not be able to attain surgery without aid.

In order for Operation Smile to launch the number of missions that it has over the course of its existence it has acquired a large amount of funding from many different sources. In total Operation Smile receives funding from five different types of sources; these sources are the general public, private philanthropists, resource partners, donating corporations and foundations, and service organizations. ( Although donations from the general public do not make up the largest part of the organizations funding, the public is offered a chance to donate to the foundation through either check or money order, or online at its web site. A donation of only 240 dollars



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