Changde, China


Location: China, in the northwest of Hunan province
Founded: 12th century as Changde, with history going back 8,000 years
Size: 1,063 square miles
Population: 5,717,218 people
Language: Mandarin


To provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in the area.

Date: April, 2016

The Team

Smile Train

Members: Partner surgeon Dr. Fu and his team

The Work

25 children received free, high-quality cleft repair surgeries from the team.

Additionally, Smile Train uses the “teach a man to fish” model to empower local doctors through training, funding, and resources to perform cleft repairs in their own communities. This in-country outreach campaign also served as an opportunity for 30 local medical professionals to receive enhanced cleft training, allowing Smile Train’s footprint to grow and more children to receive quality cleft care.

The Experience

One of the 25 patients was a young boy whose mother was desperate to find help for her son. After endless searching, her friend connected her with Smile Train. Despite her fears, she and her son made the journey to the hospital where he received his cleft repair surgery. She now says that Smile Train has helped bring a bright smile to her son’s face and to her entire family once more.

A member of the Smile Train member meets a patient.

A Changde patient shows off his new smile.

Medical mission photos by Smile Train
Changde photo by Metal.lunchbox (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons