Operation Smile ’21 – ’22

Funds received from 45for45 2021 campaign were used to support of Operation Smile South Africa’s work to provide safe surgery and comprehensive cleft care.

In the period July ‘21 to June ‘22 Operation Smile South Africa delivered 29 cleft surgeries, deployed 22 SA volunteers to surgical programmes internationally resulting in hundreds of surgeries, and trained 116 healthcare workers to improve and strengthen health care delivery.



One patient who benefitted from support provided through the 2021 45for45 campaign was 4 year old boy, Michael Mhlakaza.

When Michael was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, his mother Katlego thought the doctors had mistakenly cut his lip and was very scared for her newborn child. It was not picked up during a routine ultrasound. The doctors told her that surgery is possible. However she had to wait 4 years because she gave birth when she was a teenager, she did not have an ID and Michael was not registered at birth either. She had no documentation to support and get the help Michael needed.



Community members from the MenHim organization reached out and offered to assist Katlego and Michael to get them to an Operation Smile surgical program.

He started going to school after he received the surgery in March 2022, and is thriving and loves singing. Katlego is happy her son’s lip is looking normal now and for the support they received from the community and the church group to help her with financial stability and be able to focus on finishing her own education and support her family.

Michael received his follow-up cleft palate surgery performed by Operation Smile volunteer Dr Malcolm due Preez on Monday 26 September 2022.