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Operation Smile is celebrating new smiles and the bright futures you have helped deliver to children like Efren, who have been patiently waiting for the care they so deserve.

As a young boy, Efren didn’t have big dreams for his future. He was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, a condition that surprised his unsuspecting parents. He was lonely and treated like an outcast.

His family was his world, and they lived on one of the many islands in the Philippines. Their financial situation limited the options available for the cleft surgeries and care Efren would need. His cleft condition made it difficult for him to communicate and be understood by his peers. When other kids bullied him, he fought back and often came home from school in tears.

At the age of 10, Efren’s family discovered and contacted Operation Smile in the Philippines. He underwent a comprehensive health check, and soon, surgery became a reality. In 2014, he received his first cleft surgery to repair his lip. A year passed, and Efren was thriving. In 2015, he received his cleft palate surgery. All this was made possible by partners like YOU!

“I’m so happy now, I can’t express how I feel. It was so painful to see how sad and upset he was coming home from school,” said Efren Sr.

Today, Efren is 18 years old, and his future looks completely different. Speaking more clearly, Efren has gained so much confidence and has found his place in his new neighbourhood, attends school, and has a group of friends to hang out with in his spare time.

YOU have helped transform his life for the better!

“I am so happy and thankful because surgery really changed my life. Earlier, I held my hand over my mouth to hide what I looked like, but now I can face people, it’s not a problem.” Efren shared, beaming with his new smile.

Efren, age 18, with friends.
Efren (second from the left), age 18, with friends.

Donors and Volunteers made this story possible. Thank you.