Operation Smile conducted its first mission in Thailand in 1997. An international team of medical volunteers conducted two medical missions: one in Bangkok at the King Mongkut Hospital, and the other at the regional hospital in Yasothorn province. During these missions 172 Thai children suffering from cleft lips and/or cleft palates received free surgeries.
In September 2001, Operation Smile Thailand registered with the Office of the National Culture Commission of Thailand to establish Operation Smile Thailand. An Executive Committee and a Board of Directors was established to oversee Operation Smile Thailand and an Executive Director was appointed. Within one year Operation Smile Thailand was financially self-sustaining.
Initial significant and irreplaceable supporters to Operation Smile Thailand were Rotary International and Amway. Other supporters were Marriott, Conrad, Accor, Meridian Hotels, Brink’s, AIG, Dow Chemical, Citibank, Chevron, International School of Bangkok, Unilever, and DTAC Mobile Phone.
Operation Smile Thailand has worked hard to promote self-sustainability by recruiting highly qualified Thai medical professionals. By doing so it has allowed Operation Smile Thailand to conduct an average of 10 surgical missions per year. In the last few years Operation Smile Thailand has performed more than 7,000 free surgeries for children in the Kingdom of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
Operation Smile Thailand has reached out to the farthest corners of the Kingdom, with medical missions to Tak, Ubon Ratchathani, Pitsanulok, Khon Kaen, Saraburi, Chiang Mai, Nan, Nakhon Phanom, Chonburi, Yasothorn, Amnat Chareon, Sisaket, Nakhon Srithammarat, Songkla, Yala, Samutsakorn, Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi and Surin as well as medical missions to neighboring countries, Laos and Myanmar.
Operation Smile Thailand provides post-operative care including speech pathology and orthodontics. Operation Smile Thailand medical volunteers and staff participate in training and education programs.