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Rotary District 5300 Cleft Lip/Palate Project


Saving Smiles….Changing Lives



Purpose: To provide free reconstructive surgery and ancillary treatments for cleft lips, palates, burn scaring and other deformities.

Where: In developing countries throughout the world.

Who: Volunteer medical professionals and District 5300 Rotarian non-medical volunteers.


District 5300 works with Rotaplast International, Inc., to provide life-changing surgeries to those with cleft lips and/or palates, burn scarring, and other deformities.

  • Rotaplast was started by Rotarians and the Rotary Club of San Francisco.
  • It has been in existence for 27 years.
  • It traditionally carries out 12 two week missions a year and has worked in 26 developing counties.
  • It relies on local Rotarians as support and outreach for patients in surrounding communities.
  • It recruits a highly skilled volunteer medical staff, and most missions utilize Rotarians as non-medical support.
  • It is a 501(c)3 non-profit, humanitarian organization and has received a 4 Star Rating from Charity Navigator (the highest and the same as TRF.) It operates with very low overhead and does no advertising.


A typical mission will be two weeks long and include a full team of 30+ volunteers, 2/3 of which are medical staff. District 5300 has sponsored 6 missions.

  • 2011: Retalhuleu, Guatemala
  • 2013: Monrovia, Liberia
  • 2015: Retalhuleu, Guatemala
  • 2017: Lima, Peru
  • 2019: Arusha, Tanzania
  • 2020: Agra, India

Through these surgical missions District 5300 has impacted the lives of many families:

  • 415 Patients Treated
  • 504 Procedures Carried Out


Volunteers: The district reaches out to clubs for non-medical volunteer applicants. These volunteers should be active Rotarians from the district, available for the full two week mission, travel with the team out of San Francisco, and be comfortable traveling/working in a developing country. They are responsible for their travel costs and miscellaneous minor expenses.
For our six past missions the District has provided 35 non-medical volunteers in various roles.

  • Mission Director
  • Recovery Room Helper
  • Assistant Mission Director
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Quartermaster
  • Interpreter
  • Medical Records Keeper
  • Ward Coordinator
  • Equipment Sterilizer
  • Mission Historian
  • Patient Transport

Contributions: To support these six missions, our Rotary clubs and individuals have generously contributed $340,000. Usually the district co-sponsors a mission with another entity.

Because of the Rotary Club of Las Vegas, our Cleft Lip/Palate Program has been the fortunate beneficiary of two gifts from the Welles Family Foundation. One is the biannual income from a 7% ownership of a trailer park in Nevada, and the other was a onetime gift of just over $98,000. The District Committee decided that these funds will be used as necessary to help support future missions and not be used to fully fund a single mission. Mission costs range from approximately $85,000 to $150,000 depending on their location and the size of the team.


District Rotaplast Committee and Governor Greg Jones had decided to co-sponsor a seventh Rotaplast mission. We were planning to be part of a team on March 21 – April 4, 2021, to Chitwan, Nepal, where there is a significant need related to cleft lip and palate surgeries and burn scars surgical reconstructions.

However due to the COVID-19 world-wide pandemic, all upcoming Rotaplast surgical missions have been cancelled. We will no longer be accepting non-medical applications for this or any future mission. Once Rotaplast develops a new schedule of missions, the District Rotaplast Committee will enter into an agreement with Rotaplast related to co-sponsoring one. At that time we will inform clubs and District Rotarians of the mission selected and how to apply for non-medical volunteer positions and contribute to the mission.

If clubs have budgeted funds for this mission to Nepal, they may elect to remit to the District Office a check made out to “Rotary District 5300 Foundation” with the words “Cleft Lip Program” written on the memo line. It will be placed into a restrictive account with the District 5300 Foundation and used toward the next District-sponsored mission.



The District 5300 Cleft Lip/Palate Committee is composed of the following individuals:

District Calendar

International Virtual Whiskey Tasting - Fellowship Event
November 7th 2021
More info

2021 DG/GETS/GNTS Faculty, Staff, Administration, and Visitors
Nov 8th - Nov 10th 2021
More info

2021 GETS Registration 2022-2023 District Governors
Nov 8th - Nov 10th 2021
More info

2021 GNTS Registration 2023-2024 District Governors
Nov 8th - Nov 10th 2021
More info

2021 GETS and GNTS Registration 2021-2022 District Governors
Nov 9th - Nov 10th 2021
More info

TOGETHER IN TUCSON - Emerging Rotary Leaders
Nov 10th - Nov 11th 2021
More info

TOGETHER IN TUCSON - Big West Institute Zones 26 and 27
Nov 11th - Nov 14th 2021
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TOGETHER IN TUCSON - Friday Night Friendship Dinner
Nov 12th - Nov 17th 2021
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TOGETHER IN TUCSON - Sunday Morning Golf
November 14th 2021
More info

PDG Roger Schulte, Co-Chair


Club Presentations: We can arrange for one of our non-medical volunteers from a past mission to give a club presentation about their life-changing experience serving on a Rotaplast mission. Contact one of the committee members.

Rotaplast Website: Photo blogs of past missions, job descriptions for non-medical volunteers, and extensive general information is available on Rotaplast’s website: