Operation Cleft is an international project of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central that provides free cleft repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh each year, over 5,000 babies are born with cleft lip and/or palates.  These babies are often sickly and malnourished due to feeding problems. If left untreated, these children will suffer both physically and emotionally, and face a life of torment, poor health, isolation, illiteracy and in some cases, death.  Frequently both children and their families are ostracised by their communities, and many family units break down due to the stress and peer pressure.

Because cleft repair surgery is not covered under Bangladesh’s overburdened public health care system, thousands of children grow to adulthood with this condition untreated.

By surgically repairing their cleft lip and/or palate, we are providing them with an opportunity to lead a normal life, to get an education, to build a social network and to reach their full potential as contributing members of their community.


For less than a dollar a day, you can help these children move towards a brighter future. For just $25 a month, for one year, you can assist Operation Cleft give the Gift of a Smile for Life and make a real difference to those less fortunate in Bangladesh.  To become a monthly donor and help us reach our Target of 1000 Smiles, go to: https://donate.grassrootz.com/operationcleft/target-1000-smiles


Photo 2Operation Cleft also supports the development of speech and language therapy. The service is relatively new to Bangladesh and is limited mainly to Dhaka. Our focus is on making speech therapy more accessible and to promoting it as a post-operative program to achieve best outcomes, particularly in young children after a cleft palate repair.

We have been working with the community health workers over the last three years.  These workers go out into the community and are able to provide basic advice to families on how to improve their child’s speech.

Oh course, ideally we like to operate on children who are under one year old, as they have not yet developed the nasal speech patterns that require correction. However, because children with cleft palates, in particular, are prone to infection, it is not always possible to operate on little children.  We have to wait until they are well enough to tolerate the anaesthetic.