Kelemua’s family have always made the best of what they have. And despite living in extreme poverty, they show real courage to work hard and provide for one another. But when she went into labour with twins, Kelemua’s life was about to become even more difficult. One of her children was stillborn.
Mastewal Acha was forced into marriage at the age of sixteen and soon became pregnant. But her young, frail body simply wasn’t prepared for childbirth and she endured two horrific days of agonizing obstructed labour. Her baby had become stuck in her pelvis and died.
Abel like most 5-year-old enjoyed being outside and spending time with his friends. In June last year Abel was playing outside the gates of his village compound when he was attacked by a female hyena who had emerged from the nearby forest to hunt. Whilst his friends ran to the safety of the compound gates Abel stayed behind to make sure they were all safe. His bravery had placed himself in terrible danger. It was as he tried to shut the gate that the hyena clamped her jaws around his head.
Dolek was just two when the Noma infection began to eat away at his face. Had his family been able to afford the journey, they would have taken him to hospital then. But that simply wasn’t an option, so the infection spread and spread.
Gena is 16 years old and from Southern Ethiopia. Before she found Facing Africa, the left side of her mouth was almost inverted so that the gums and teeth were apparent through the cheek. She is the youngest of six and had spent her entire life behind the walls of the home.
Karima, first came to Facing Africa with severe facial defects. People found it difficult to look at her. Just think how damaging that must be for a child. Her ability to communicate was
almost non-existent and she would literally hide behind her sister whenever strangers were near.
Abebe was just nine years old when she lost her father to AIDS. Soon after, her mother met the same cruel fate. Not only was Abebe devastated by grief, she was also now an orphan with nobody to protect her. She was forced to begin a life on the streets, begging for scraps of food and struggling desperately just to stay alive.
Mebratu was born in Dessie, 400km North of Addis Ababa. He is one of five boys whose mother died when he was a baby. His father, an alcoholic, would come home drunk and violently beat him and his brothers. Mebratu was forced to spend the evenings searching or begging for food.
Dinge spent 1 year and 3 months at one of AWSAD’s safe houses having been refereed by a community support officer. When she arrived at AWSAD, Dinge was 8 months pregnant having been raped. She told us that she felt that she had nobody to turn to, and wanted to die.
Amanuel Habte is 17 years old from the Benshangul-Gmuz region. He encountered bilateral post-polio paralysis after birth. Amanuel's friends and neighbours thought the cause to be evil and advised that the he should be taken to holy water. Amanuel crawled around on stony, muddy and dusty paths, which was tiresome and painful.
Enamo Yadessa is 17 years old. She was admitted to Menagesha Rehabilitation Center for physical rehabilitation after being referred by Cheshire's Mobile Outreach Service. When the outreach team visited her village, Enamo emerged from the house crawling on her hands. She headed to the mobile clinic van for physical examination. Both her two lower legs, hip and knee had severe flexion contractures due to Post Polio Paralysis contracted since her childhood. She was pale and filled with despair.