• The smile foundation

    How the smile foundation came about

    There was a girl that suffered from a rare medical condition causing facial nerve paralysis. Her mother sought help from our the Chief Patron, the late honorable Nelson Mandela, who made a call that would help secure surgery for the young child as well as countless other children to come. His belief that the future of our nation is in the hands of our children has and continues to be a driving motivation for the Smile Foundation. Since then, the Smile Foundation has helped over 4000 disadvantaged children with facial abnormalities, such as Cleft Lip and Palate, Moebius syndrome (facial paralysis) and burns, receive corrective plastic and reconstructive surgery. We are currently based in 12 of South Africa’s leading hospitals where we invest in development programs and purchase much needed medical equipment. With the compassion and support of our benefactors and teams of medical staff, we can sprinkle a little bit of magic into the lives of these children and give them a future full of joy.



    To help children live a life inspired by confidence and possibility, no matter their circumstances.


    To transform the lives of children affected by facial abnormalities and severe burns through the best possible surgical and psychological care.



    Our team might be small but what we achieve together is as big as it gets. We’re like an army of Davids (yes … as in David and Goliath). We’re potent, champions of equity and each other. Don’t misconstrue our good natures for being pushovers.


    We may be a NPO, but that doesn’t mean we let others determine the ceiling of our vision or impact. For us, the bar is high. We’re proud, bold and unapologetic for the way we show up. Everything we do is done with the utmost care, compassion and consideration.


    We fight to help every child that needs us. No matter the perceived limitation of our resources. We’ve been at this a long time and we know how to equip families so they succeed in the long journey to recovery. We’ve spent decades ensuring the process is paved with empathy and professionalism.


    We strive for excellence not just in the care we provide but in the partnerships we build. We go out of our way to ensure every donor is met with an experience that makes them feel “we would do this again”.


    Baby Alex

    Baby Alex, a bright and cheerful baby boy was born with a cleft lip. He received surgery at R.M.S.A.H (Kimberley Hospital). It is an absolute privilege to see baby Alex after his surgery. Such a special boy who gets to fit in like every other child.

    Alex Before

    Alex After


    Since 2013, we have been supporting a young girl by the name of Princess. She was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. When Princess was just 4 months old, she received her first surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. Up until now Princess has undergone three operations – one cleft lip repair and two cleft palate repairs.She was due for her fourth surgery last year, which has been postponed because of Lockdown, as all elective surgeries were put on hold.When Princess was born, her mother Sylvia was very shocked and emotional and did not expect her baby to be born with a cleft lip and palate as she had three healthy kids before. Her husband didn’t take it well and wanted to hide Princess and not let people see her because of the stigma attached to being born with an abnormality.Princess is now 7 years of age, she is thriving, she exceptionally confident, she loves talking and interacting with other people and gives the biggest hugs.

    Princess Before

    Princess After


    7 Year old Nickey was born in Bloemfontein. Her teacher at school asked if anyone could help with her speech as no-one could understand her. She received a post pharyngeal flap during Universitas Academic Hospital Smile Week. Her surgery went very well and her speech had already improved straight after the surgery.

    A pharyngeal flap is a surgical procedure to correct or enhance the quality of a child’s speech. Muscle tissue is transferred from the back of the throat or pharynx to the palate in order to narrow the nasal opening. This enables a child to have a more normal sounding voice and increase his/her communication skills.

    Nickey with her mom

    Wyatt Driscoll

    He was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. His parents were very shocked and a little afraid when he was born; they didn’t know if he would ever lead a normal life with his condition.

    When Wyatt was two months old, they visited Universitas Hospital. The surgeons, speech therapist, genetic specialists and a clinical psychologist explained to his parents what surgery he needed and how to feed him correctly. This helped his parents a lot!

    He had his first operation in February 2017 to repair his cleft lip, and afterwards everyone thought he looked beautiful! But he still had a large cleft in his palate, which caused milk to come out of his nose.

    Three months later Wyatt came back to the hospital for his next surgery. The whole team was there once again, and helped his family through his operation and post-operative care.

    Surgeons managed to close up the cleft in his palate, there is still a small opening in his jawbone that allows milk through his nose.

    The doctors explained that Wyatt will need another operation when he is six years old to replace part of the alveolar bone. Then he will be able to eat and drink with no problem at all!



    Press release

    Press Release

    09 August 2022

    Ride Jo’burg ride for a smile event

    The smile foundation is proud to be promoting the ride Jo’burg ride 4 smile event on the 12th of November 2022. During that day we exhort people in around Johannesburg take take part in this heart warming event.

    Smile Foundation in collaboration with 947 Ride Joburg and Imperial Wanderers Stadium, will host a Smile Foundation 947 Ride Joburg Cyclethon, which you can do in an exciting large-scale class at Imperial Wanderers stadium (limited to 500 participants) or from the comfort of your own home (unlimited), while watching a world class stream

    A cycling instructor will lead and motivate the Cyclethon riders for 4 hours throughout their virtual 94 km 947 Ride Joburg race. All riders will be linked virtually to the same race and will complete their 94km in their own time. Every rider will need to use the official App, Motosumo, to track and measure their 94 km ride to receive an official 2020 finish and medal.

    Participants who choose to attend Smile Foundation 947 Ride Joburg Cyclethon at Imperial Wanderers will also receive their medal and goody bag. Refreshment stations will be available to the 500 participants who attend the Imperial Wanderers Stadium. This is to simulate water points during the not-so-virtual race. On top of it, this exciting event will be aired live via the 947 Ride Joburg Facebook page.

    Planet Fitness are key partners powering this event by providing 300 gym stationery bikes. They have also allocated spinning studios at 10 of their gyms so participants can take part in the race. With Covid-19 compliance regulations sternly in place, bookings are essential on the website.


    Contact – +27 10 753 3034


    Press Release

    09 August 2022

    Spin – a – thon event

    Banking controlling company, Sasfin, together with the Smile Foundation will host an annual Smile Spin-a-thon event to raise money for reconstructive surgery on children with cleft, lip, palate and other facial abnormality. The event will be hosted on Sunday, 21 August 2022.

    For over 15 years Sasfin has partnered with The Smile Foundation to help make a meaningful impact in the lives of these children through annual sponsorships and being the headline sponsor of the annual Smile Foundation Spin-a-thon.

    This year’s Spin-a-thon, will be held at Fourways Mall, which will see 256 riders come out to spin in one of 8 hourly slots. Amongst the riders was a group of Sasfin riders who rode the entire day.

    Whatever the individual reason for spinning, each rider will come out, have fun, push themselves and make a tangible difference in the lives of the children of The Smile Foundation.


    Contact Information


    011 325 6480

    010 753 3034

    57 6th Rd, Hyde Park, Sandton, 2196


    Twitter: @LSmile21

    Instagram: @the_smile_foundation21

    Facebook: Letskeepasmile21

    YouTube:@George Ntimbane

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