Seven years ago, a small tumour started to grow on Maftu's jaw getting slowly larger until it was so big that it affected every aspect of her life. Simple functions like breathing and eating became difficult. She dropped out of school. Worst of all, she felt very isolated and alone.

In her desperation Maftu turned to traditional medicine. Traditional healers are still common in rural areas of Ethiopia, often using harmful practices that hinder the healing of medical conditions or even make them worse. When Maftu visited her local healer, he took a hot iron to her wound causing it to become infected.

By the time Maftu arrived at Project Harar's pre-op centre in 2018, her wound was severely infected and she was very sick. She was admitted to the local hospital for care but it was apparant that in order to save her life we urgently needed to remove her tumour.

Maftu was a very brave young lady. Her operation was complicated but nevertheless successful- the surgeons used one of her ribs to recreate her jaw that was removed with the huge tumour. The change in her appearnace after her operation was incredible.

We invited Maftu back for further corrective surgery in 2019 and the difference in her character from just one year before was startling. Instead of the sick, shy women we met the year before, a young, confident young lady greeted us - Maftu no longer covered her face and she was happy.

'I'm happy with my appearance now', she said.

The surgery she recieved from Project Harar's surgeons and the support she received from our nurses has allowed Maftu to become a confident lady - she is ready to take her place in the world with her whole future ahead of her.

Maftu before her surgery (left) and after her surgery (right) in 2018