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Standards of Care

We raise medical standards through collaborative learning


When traveling around the world providing free treatment and spreading smiles, we get to meet patients with stories that will stay forever in our hearts. Here we have collected some of them.

Little Lion & Father

Our Little Lion story in China

With a head full of bouncy luscious curls and eyes that sparkled, she was a delightful child who was not afraid of displaying her outgoing personality. Even with a cleft on her lip, she was often seen beaming with joy. As such, she was referred to as the ‘Little Lion’ among the team of Smile Asia volunteers. Born and raised in Tibet, Little Lion was conspicuously different from other city kids. She was a strong and robust child who did not flinch the slightest even when receiving injection. Just like a little lion cub, she affectionately found comfort in her father.

Although her father appeared to be a confident and optimistic individual, it had not been easy for him being the sole breadwinner with seven children. Unfortunately, his wife passed away a year ago, and one of his elder daughters eventually gave up her education to take up the domestic responsibility of the family. He shared that even though their lives were full of struggles and hardship, the family’s strong bond and love was essential for them to tide through the difficult times.

After the successful surgery, Little Lion will continue to glow and grow through her childhood.

Jay Serrano & Mum

Jay Serrano and his mother smile again in Philippines

Jay Serrano was born with both cleft lip and palate. His mother shared that people in their village called him names before he had his surgery. It broke her heart because they laughed at Jay instead of showing him support.

They traveled to Smile Asia mission site in Cabanatuan, Philippines, hoping to receive the surgery to repair Jay’s cleft. His family were excited after he got cleared by the Smile Asia team for his health evaluation to receive surgery. Jay’s father told us that he dreams for Jay to attend school normally like the other children and thanked the Smile Asia team.

Aye Tawtar & Father

Daughter-father duo both receives cleft lip surgeries in Myanmar

Aye Tawtar was only 2 months old when she first came to the patients’ recruitment session at Smile Asia’s Medical Mission in Yangon. She arrived with her father, who also had an untreated cleft lip. As her father did not have an opportunity to treat his cleft lip at a young age, his biggest hope was for Aye Tawtar to get a chance to receive surgery. The Smile Asia doctors deemed him fit to undergo surgery, but his daughter was unfortunately turned down as she did not meet the minimum age requirement. He turned down the offer to get treated in Yangon as he wanted to receive treatment together with his daughter.

Thankfully, Aye Tawtar Tun was scheduled for surgery a few months later when she turned 7 months at a subsequent Smile Asia Medical Mission in Naypyidaw.

“While we were celebrating the successful surgery of our daughter, the doctors from Smile Asia saw my husband’s cleft and offered him the surgery,” said Daw Zin Mar Tun, mother of Aye Tawtar. “I cannot express how happy I am now because both my daughter and my husband can have a healthy

Cherry Moe & Grandpa

Cherry Moe and grandpa, an inseparable duo in Myanmar

Cherry Moe is a two-and-a-half-year-old girl with a shy personality. She was accompanied by her charismatic 74-year old grandfather throughout the mission. Her parents, farmers, can't miss work because they would lose income and can't afford it.

The village in which they reside was rather accepting of her condition as there were more people with cleft. However, because of her cleft lip, Cherry Moe frequently struggled during mealtimes as food would leak out from her mouth. This could also affect her nutrition and development as she did not have sufficient food intake. Such problems were similarly faced by another child with a cleft lip from her village who was treated at a young age.

Cherry’s mother hoped that her daughter could also be given the chance to receive treatment. She chanced upon an advertisement of the medical mission and immediately registered her for the Smile Asia Medical Mission in Taunggyi. Being selected as a patient meant that it would change Cherry’s life forever, and this brought tears to her grandfather’s eyes. He was immensely grateful for the opportunity to her granddaughter.

Gilbert & Parents

Gilbert’s patents emotional journey in Philippines

It came as shock to Gilbert’s parents when he was born with a cleft lip. They recalled being unprepared and overwhelmed with emotions – on one hand, love of their new-born baby boy, joyful at his arrival, and on another, sadness as they knew he would have to go through a lot of challenges in his life.

They learn that Smile Asia was coming to Philippines and Gilbert could receive surgery for his lip. They contacted and were excited that Gilbert was eligible to join. Before leaving, Gilbert’s family got well wishes from their supportive neighbours.

It took several hours for the family to travel by bus to Cabanatuan. His father commented that it was a tiring but well worth journey. The wait for Gilbert’s screening results was nerve-racking, his father recounted. Thankfully, Gilbert was able to be scheduled for surgery and his parents felt relieved and elated.

Looking at his son after surgery, Gilbert’s father thanked us on behalf of his village for this opportunity that Smile Asia has given to them to change Gilbert’s life.

Tenzin & Father

Tenzin's father hopes in Bhutan

Two years old Tenzin came to our mission site carried by his father. Their journey took them 8 hours by bus through ice and snow in the mountainous region of Bhutan. His mother was unable to join because she had to take care of his other siblings. Born with a unilateral cleft lip, Tenzin is fortunate enough to eat normally.

When his parents found out about that Smile Asia was coming to Punakha, Bhutan, Tenzin’s father felt a sense of relief that he doesn’t need to travel out of the country to treat his son. He was touched by the team flying all the way to his homeland and showing care to the patients, including his son, as if they were their own family.

Upon looking at his treated son, he was hopeful that Tenzin will overcome the speech difficulties when he grows up.