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.

Abel's mother courageously gave chase and after a struggle, in which she too was injured, managed to free her son from the animal's jaws. The hyena repeatedly tried to attack but thankfully was frightened away by their neighbours. Abel was left with horrific injuries -the hyena had torn away his lower jaw, lips and tongue.

He was barely breathing, but somehow he was alive.

Abel's parents rushed him to the nearest health post 18kms away where he received first aid and was then taken to the regional hospital 2 hours away.

It was clear that his injuries were severe and the family scraped all that they had to pay for the 7-hour drive to a hospital in Addis Ababa. In October 2015, Abel received treatment from volunteer surgeons who had travelled to Ethiopia to perform complex surgeries. Abel’s was a challenging case with surgeons rebuilding his jaw using cutting edge technology for bone reconstruction and to keep Abel’s blood vessels and fibula “alive” whilst a leg graft was being prepared for transplant to his face. It was the first surgery of its kind in Ethiopia.

Thanks to the surgical expertise and the post-operative care funded by supporters like you, Abel has managed to survive his first round of reconstructive surgery. He faces a childhood of complex operations as he grows to ensure he can breathe, eat and drink properly. He now has hope for the future.


Abel as a baby, before the attack.

Related work: Destructive Diseases