Operation Cleft provides free cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery for
underprivileged children in Bangladesh – the “Gift of a Smile for Life”.


Operation Cleft began in 2005 as a project of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central in conjunction with the Glencoe Foundation with 60 operations undertaken. The profound effect of photos of children before and after surgery was such that the Rotary Club decided to develop Operation Cleft as an ongoing international humanitarian project and works in conjunction with the Glencoe Foundation.  Since its humble beginnings, Operation Cleft has provided over 10,700 free cleft repair surgeries and remains a signature project of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central.

Operation Cleft Australia raises funds to provide free cleft repair surgery to the underprivileged in Bangladesh.  With approximately 300,000 people in Bangladesh living with cleft conditions and more than 4,000 babies born each year with cleft lips and/or palates, there is still much work to be done.

The over-burdened Bangladesh healthcare system does not consider this congenital birth defect as life-threatening and repair surgery is not covered even though babies born with cleft conditions have difficulty feeding and this often leads to the weakening of the immune system, malnutrition and frequently results in higher infant mortality.  With many families living on less than a dollar a day, this surgery is beyond their means.

Left untreated, these children suffer social isolation, depression, malnutrition, and ear, nose and throat infections.  Many do not attend school as they are so ostrscised and discouraged by the school system, and their lack of education perpetuates the poverty cycle.

For further information, please download our Fact Sheet