I'm sure that someone you know was either born with a cleft lip, has a family member who was born with a cleft lip or knows someone who was born with a cleft lip- this also goes for cleft palate. The reason why I believe this is true is because it is one of the most common birth defects. We all start out with a cleft lip and palate but between the 6th and 11th week of fetal development the palates fuse together, however for some they do not. Depending on how severe of a cleft this can interfere with breathing, eating, speech, hearing and dental.
The treatment is also dependent on the severity (and the overall health of the child) but typically completed as early as possible (10-12 weeks for cleft lip and 9-18 months for cleft palate) with multiple surgeries usually needed. In developed countries like the US there isn't normally a question or issue of getting these surgeries done but in developing nations this unfortunately isn't the case. In countries where it isn't as affordable, accessible, or realistic to get the surgeries many of those children will die before their first birthday and those who do survive are sometimes shunned or rejected.
The organization Operation Smile has made it their mission to heal the smiles of those children so they can remain accepted and live normal lives that don't involve problems with breathing, eating, speech, and hearing. Operation Smile is an international charity that likes to more accurately call themselves a "mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts" who provide free cleft surgeries to children who do not have access to safe and affordable health care.
Operation Smile is made possible by donations from individuals and corporations and the work of volunteers. You as a consumer can use companies that donate based off of your utilization of such companies. The company Campus Book Rentals donates money to Operation Smile with each textbook rented and will be donating over 1,000 cleft lip surgeries this year!
Have you heard of Campus Book Rentals? They are a company in the textbook business who save collage students 40-90% off bookstore prices, offer free shipping both ways, allows you to highlight in the textbooks, offer flexible renting schedules and most importantly donate to Operation Smile with each text book rented. They have a new program called RentBack which I really wish was around when I was in college- this allows students to rent the textbooks they own to other students giving them the potential to earn more than they would with buyback options.
I love running into companies that support the big picture and recognize that we all play a part in this world on a global scale. If you yourself are a college student or know of one I encourage you to pass Campus Book Rentals and RentBack their way- I wish someone had with me back when I was in college. PS- Yikes to, "back when I was in college."
What other companies do you know and utilize that support charities/NGOs?