Three years ago, a small growth appeared on Gemechu’s cheek that continued to enlarge. Eventually, it got so large that if left untreated, it would threaten his life. The growth was a giant ameloblastoma, which caused Gemechu great pain both physically and emotionally. Not only did his face constantly ache, but he also experienced discrimination from those around him.

Children run away from me when they see me. I can’t play with my peers because of my appearance.

Project Harar’s outreach workers had noticed Gemechu’s condition as he sat on the streets of Addis begging and brought him to be treated. When our volunteer medical team arrived in early 2018, they reviewed his case and decided that something needed to be done to improve his quality of life. There was just one problem – Gemechu wasn’t sure if he wanted surgery! At first he was racked with the worry that surgery could affect his income earned from begging, but he finally agreed.

The operation was complicated but successful nevertheless, and his transformation was nothing short of remarkable! The work of our surgeons combined with the psychological support he received from our rehabilitation centre helped Gemechu to emerge as a confident young man, ready to take his place in the world. After surgery he said:

I am really happy now. Thanks to Project Harar I have escaped from complication, hard times and disappointment.

If you would like to find out more information about our surgical programme click here

Gemechu before and after surgery