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 1 out of every 500 babies born in the Philippines has cleft lip and/or cleft palate….

With the hope of bringing smiles to indigent Filipinos with Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate, Charity First Foundation Inc. launched its Medical Program in the year 2004. The program came about when Charity First sponsored a mission for “Operation Smile”, an NGO specializing in Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate operations. Subsequent to this mission, Charity First decided to set up its own medical program. Thus, Sponsor a Smile, CFFI’s medical program came to be.

Some of the Sponsor A Smile beneficiaries





Charity First’s first Medical Mission was conducted on July 1-3, 2004 at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legaspi, Albay. The mission performed reconstructive surgery on 69 patients, most of them children between the ages of 3-12, with “harelip” and “cleft palate” problems. This 3-day mission was made possible through the combined efforts of Dr. Lawrence Loh and Dr. VilmaHao, Executive Director of Operation Smile Phils, and in partnership with the Albay-Legaspi Chinese Filipino community.

This mission was followed by a second one in the province of Isabela held at the Cauyan District Hospital on May 4-6, 2005, in partnership with the Isabela Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce.  59 indigent patients were served.


The procedure for medical missions begins with a “Pre-screening” which is done by a volunteer doctor from partner organization, Operation Smile. This is followed by a pediatric check-up (for young patients) with Dr. Adeline Ty-Lee of the Chinese General Hospital.  When found fit, patients are recommended and endorsed for surgery. Post-operative check ups and medical assistance are also provided for patients.

The Medical Program of Charity First Foundation Inc, in partnership with Operation Smile Phils and its team of volunteer plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, and speech pathologists have served a total of 301 patients since its inception.

“The best portion of a good man’s life – little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love”

William Wordsworth