In September the Project Harar team in Ethiopia conducted an awareness raising workshop in the Oromia Region. The workshop gave Project Harar a regional spotlight, as it was also given TV coverage by the OBN (Oromia Broadcasting Network). 

During the workshop the Project Harar team explained ways in which community outreach and other Project Harar services had been adapted over the past 18 months, how these methods were working alongside the health system in Oromia  and how they could be integrated further. The workshop was presented to different sectors within the Oromia regional health bureau, which included hospital workers and health workers who are specialised in woman and children’s health.

The Project Harar team were also joined by several different groups of people who had accessed Project Harar’s services over the past 18 months. Including Bereket and Balisa  two boys aged 6 and 7, who had benefited from Project Harar's cleft services back in 2018. Both boys had received surgery for cleft lip and palate  and are now currently receiving speech and language therapy via our community based speech therapy programme, which is in collaboration with Transforming Faces. Both boys are currently attending school. 

Bereket and Balisa with their mothers, explaining the impact of their cleft treatment and speech and language therapy to the OBN.

We were also joined by Sifan and her mother Busee. Sifan, now 14 years old, had received life changing facial surgery back in 2020 via Project Harar. Around the age of 6, she started to develop a lump on the side of her face  that due to the limited health monitoring in the rural area she lived in, grew to a very large size over the years. It was causing Sifan lots of pain and due to bullying, she had had to drop out of education.

Sifan before receiving surgery 

Luckily Sifan was identified by a Project Harar outreach worker and offered treatment during a collaboration programme that took place at Yekatit-12 Government Hospital, Addis Ababa. The surgery she received to remove the growth was extremely complicated and required a high level of medical expertise, it was also extremely successful… Sifan has now been able to re-join school.

When the growth appeared Sifan’s mother took her to local health facilities, including a traditional healer, but unfortunately no one was able to help. Busee had raised Sifan on her own, and currently earns a living selling drinking coffee on the side of the road, she did not have the financial means to pay to seek out private treatment.

Sifan after receiving surgery — photos middle and right, taken as part of Project Harar's remote follow-up programme.

Project Harar continue to work with Yekatit-12 Government Hospital and Medical College  on collaborative teaching and capacity building, so that children like Sifan are able to access the life changing and often life saving, treatment that they need.