The irony of the plight of children afflicted with cleft lip or cleft palate is that their condition is permanently, and near completely, correctable.  They need not suffer if they can receive needed surgical services. 

    Young girl with cleft lip and cleft palate
When a request for assistance is made or a community in need is identified, Operation Sunrise personnel conduct a site visit to determine the specific medical and educational needs of each new location and to obtain the authorization and endorsement from the medical community in the host country.

Operating Room Hospital Ning,        

Angeles city, Philippines               

                     Thena Holeman, RN

                  and Philippine colleagues

Based on the facilities available and the local need, an interdisciplinary team of as many as 30 members is assembled to work in conjunction with local health care professionals over a two week period.  Volunteers pay their own expenses, with the exception of the nurses' airfares, which are subsidized by the organization.

Operating under this model, Operation Sunrise has become one of the most successful and cost effective medical programs of its kind.  The cost per procedure averages only two hundred to nine hundred dollars - an amazingly small amount to transform a life. 

In an average year, with the generous help of its sponsors and volunteer health care professionals, the Operation Sunrise team typically provides over a quarter of a million dollars of surgical services to over one hundred children. 

When possible, children with problems too complex to be managed in the host country are brought to the US or Australia for treatment under the separately funded Child Sponsor Program.  Under this program, hospitals, surgeons, foundations and local charities share treatment costs. 

             Girl with encephalocele (incomplete    

formation of the central face)          

Operation Sunrise volunteers and donors are participants in an incredible form of humanitarian diplomacy.  Upon departing the host country the lives of children afflicted with cleft lip and palate and their families are incalculably changed and the local medical community is one step closer to medical self-sufficiency. 

  Young boy a few days after repair

                      of his cleft lip