Transforming Faces is passionate about our mission of providing care and services to those who have been born with cleft palate and cleft lip. For this reason, we serve the amazing people of Ethiopia through our valued partnerships and we won’t stop until every person with one of these conditions receives the care they need. Of all of the smile charities in the world, Transforming Faces stands apart because of our focus on making a difference, our desire to change lives, and the hope that we offer to those who might never have had it. Our mission: to transform lives, one person at a time. Consider donating to our cause today!

Fast Facts

Ethiopia Map


  • Population: Over 100 million
  • Partners: Yekatit 12 Hospital, Project Harar Ethiopia, CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital, and Jimma University Medical Center/Operation Smile
  • Based in: Addis Ababa and Jimma


  • Yekatit 12 Hospital is Ethiopia’s only comprehensive cleft care centre providing all services patients require; including: surgery, speech therapy, dentistry, orthodontics and social work.
  • TF partners with three other Ethiopian cleft organizations to expand access to speech therapy services in the capital city and well beyond.


  • In 2020 TF partnered with three additional cleft organizations focused on newborn nutrition, speech therapy and community outreach. In response to the pandemic, TF’s Ethiopian partners pivoted to provide virtual counselling, speech therapy and support groups to 622 families at different stages of their cleft care journeys.
  • Partnering with Project Harar Ethiopia to deliver community-based speech therapy to patients in rural parts of the country and CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital to expand access to speech therapy in the capital city.
  • In 2015, Addis Ababa University launched its first formal degree program for speech therapists. With support from TF and the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC), 16 speech therapy students graduated in 2019, bringing the country’s total of formally-trained speech professionals from two to 18


    • Shame & stigma: In many Ethiopian communities, cleft is believed to be a curse. We work to address this issue through public awareness campaigns and family counselling
    • Shortage of trained speech professionals: There are currently 18 formally trained speech therapists serving a country with a population over 100 million


    • “We had a difficult time because of the pandemic, but we had excellent cooperation and support from Transforming Faces. Their support helped us develop innovative ideas to reach patients during this time.”

     – Dr. Mekonen, Ethiopia


    In 2017, TF began a collaboration with TAAAC, a unique, multidisciplinary educational initiative partnering with the University of Toronto and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. TAAAC works to strengthen the capacity of professionals in medical, engineering and social sciences in Ethiopia. Together, TF and TAAAC facilitated training of Ethiopia’s first cohort of undergraduate speech therapists, set to graduate from Addis Ababa University in early 2019.

    CANADIAN SUPPORTERS: Unifor Social Justice Fund, Blossom Foundation, Terence & Svea McKillen Foundation, Norman Black Foundation

    Learn more about our work in Ethiopia

    Listen to Caring for Cleft: Episode 2 – Launching the Speech Profession in Ethiopia

    Program Updates

    Argentina | Chile | Costa Rica | India | Myanmar | Peru | Thailand | Uganda