A new face, a new life

Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 13th September 2018

Imagine going through life with just half a face… It happens to thousands of children every year in Ethiopia

Today I want to introduce you to Sufi, a 13 year old Ethiopian girl. She is just like all teenage girls: she smiles, enjoys talking to people, loves her hair being done and is starting to become a confident young adult.

She dreams of a bright future and wants to become a teacher one day.

Born in the town of Ambo in Ethiopia, daughter of farmers and eldest child in a family of six, she has always had many responsibilities: fetching drinking water from rivers, herding animals, caring for her younger siblings and cooking food.

At the age of eight Sufi developed a small swelling on her jaw, and the swelling grew really fast. In a short period of time Sufi was unable to eat, drink, talk and breathing was becoming an increasingly difficult task.

Relatives and good willing people from the village gathered some money for Sufi’s treatment, but no hospital in Ethiopia could help the young girl.

The tumour in Sufi’s face was revealing the shocking truth of Noma: in Ethiopia Noma kills, local treatment and surgery are not available. 

Noma is a gangrenous infection that devours the face, eating through skin, muscle, and bone. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of six, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.

When Sufi reached our partner Facing Africa, they knew they were the only ones who could do something to help Sufi. It was clear that without the necessary surgery, Sufi would die. Her future was not going to be as bright as she had hoped for...

Sufi, however, was a lucky one. She received surgery from Facing Africa’s volunteer surgeons who had travelled to Ethiopia to perform complex surgeries last October.

Sufi’s surgery was challenging: 15 long hours in the hands of extremely experienced and skilled medical team, the surgery was a success.

Sufi was given a new face. A new life. A future.

“It was a miracle to see my daughter breathing!” said Sufi’s father.

Sufi truly is a miracle. Many more like Sufi need your support. Noma destroys lives, please help us reach Noma victims and give them the opportunity of a new lease of life.

Just a small gift from you will help give a Noma survivor the opportunity of a better future.

Your support will enable continuing lifesaving medical missions to Ethiopia. There are still too many Noma victims who need to be reached, adults and children whose lives will dramatically improve with necessary surgery. We need your support now more than ever.


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