Volunteer Stories

A dream becomes a life.
South Africa

Plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Lelala has followed his dream into medicine and changing lives.


Open Heart, Open Hands
Mozambique

Driven to help Mozambicans affected by cleft conditions, the 42-year-old nonmedical volunteer was responsible for bringing 18 potential patients to Operation Smile’s July 2018 medical mission held in Quelimane.


Happy to help
South Africa

Nicola-Jo recently attended her first mission. This is her story about the work Operation Smile does in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


A guardian angel
South Africa

A moment of kindness leads to a life of advocacy.


A love story strengthened by volunteering.
South Africa

Dr.’s Clare Neser and Conrad Pienaar are more than just partners in a busy surgical practice, they are husband and wife, seasoned medical professionals and long-term volunteers with Operation Smile.


A mother and daughter committed to cleft care.
South Africa

Donay and Marlise van der Merwe are a rare mother and daughter combination.


The one who is needed
South Africa

Editor's Note: The following story is the first-person account of guest blogger Sean Robson, Operation Smile South Africa Communications Coordinator, as he and photographer Zute Lightfoot accompanied Operation Smile volunteer Funeka Cele on a five-day patient advocacy journey through the South African province of Eastern Cape.


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“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President