12-year-old Ayantu came to Project Harar from a life of hardship and stigma. Born with a third nostril in the middle of her nose, the bullying she faced from other children stopped her going to school.

Ayantu took the bus by herself for over 300 miles to arrive at Yekatit 12 hospital in Addis Ababa. When her father was brought to the hospital, and gave his consent to an operation, Project Harar’s surgeons knew they could help Ayantu to live a normal life, and booked her in for surgery.

A tough, spirited girl, Ayantu had powered through the hardships in her life. At our pre-op centre, she quickly formed a strong friendship with a young girl named Fami, who had an ameloblastoma on her face. ‘I’m so glad I met Fami,’ said Ayantu. ‘She is so kind and we have a lot in common. We love playing football together, and singing and dancing. She is a really fun person to be with.’

Before her operation, Ayantu wasn’t scared. ‘I knew God would guide the hand of the surgeon and keep me safe,’ she said.

The nasal reconstruction took a long time, but was a complete success. Ayantu was delighted with her new nose, and could not stop smiling when she first saw herself in a mirror.

‘I feel like my life has started again,’ she said. ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – only God can know something like that. But I feel very hopeful about my future now.’