Friya's cleft lip and palate caused problems from a very early age. As an infant, she couldn’t breastfeed so her family had to drip milk into her mouth from a bottle. As she grew older, food would spill out of her mouth and she would choke. Because of this she always ate alone, away from her family.
Worst of all was the discrimination she faced in her home village. Her father told us that, before the operation, all the villagers would point at her when she went out of the house, which bought shame on the whole family.
After her lip operation her morale has improved, and she happily goes to market with the rest of her family. She no longer chokes while eating, and is healthier because of it.
Her speech has improved slightly and her teachers now understand her, but she feels that it's still not good enough. She wants a further operation on her palate to improve her speech, and get the maximum out of her schooling.
We're committed to caring for our patients for as long as they need us, and will ensure that Friya – and thousands of young Ethiopian children like her – has all the care she needs.
Thursday the 10th of April saw the return of one of o...
Listen to two BBC World Service interviews with Project Harar surgical teams from 2007. First up, an interview with Sissay Befikadu, who was in charge of the cleft programme at Yekatit-12 hospital. And secondly, an interview with Klaas Marck, a Dutch plastic surgeon and chair of the Dutch Noma Foundation.