Introducing our Charity Partner: Smile Train

At Thorntons, we really care about the community and the world around us so charity is very important to us. Every year we look to work with a charity that is close to our hearts and means something to us as a brand.

We’re delighted to be supporting the fantastic charity Smile Train, who just like us are in the business of making people smile. Smile Train is the world’s largest cleft charity, that provides free cleft repair surgery to children around the world to give them new smiles and a second chance at life. We really hope to raise thousands of pounds for the charity to support the great work that they’re doing.


A bit about Smile Train:

Every year more than 170,000 children are born with cleft lips or palates and most of them can’t afford surgery as they live in developing countries. A simple 45 minute surgery, that costs as little as £150 can change a child’s life forever.

Smile Train provides free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries and train doctors and medical professionals in more than 80 countries around the world.

They operate a network of more than 1,100 partner hospitals and have empowered more than 2,100 medical professionals. Every day they provide more than 340 surgeries and this year alone hope to provide more than 125,000 surgeries for children in need. Since Smile Train was founded in 1999, they have provided more than 930,000 surgeries and in the next year hope to reach one million surgeries, an astounding number, yet there are still so many more children out there who need help.

Smile Train Programmes in the UK:

While Smile Train’s programmes focus on helping poor children with cleft lips or palates in the developing world, they believe it is important to give back in our own communities as well. Smile Train offers a grant programme for cleft teams in the UK, to ensure access to the best possible cleft care for children in need.

Even though the UK has a great health system, there are still children and essential cleft services that can fall through the cracks. In the UK, Smile Train supports the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA), which provides support and services to patients and their families. Smile Train’s current grant aims to help grow CLAPA’s volunteer network and ensure they are active and available to help families most in need. The volunteers provide vital information for parents, serve as a reliable support system, and help raise awareness about clefts across the UK.


Pinki’s visit to Thorntons

We were delighted to welcome 11-year-old Smile Train patient Pinki Sonkar and her family to the Thorntons chocolate factory in July 2013. Pinki had life-changing cleft repair surgery when she was 5 years old and was the star of the Oscar winning documentary short Smile Pinki.

Pinki enjoyed a tour of the chocolate factory, lots of chocolate tasting, decorated her own chocolates and received a giant chocolate coin from us to celebrate her Wimbledon appearance.

Pinki was in the UK as she was given the great honour of doing the coin toss at the Men’s Single’s Final at Wimbledon.


Look out for the donation boxes in all Thorntons stores.
To find out more about Smile Train or to make a donation online please visit