Donate Form
Facing Africa Noma
Share This Page

In 1998, Chris Lawrence heard about the terrible plight of the hundreds of thousands of children suffering the dreadful and shocking destructive and devastating effects of “Noma”.

He wanted to do something, anything to help, and contacted Allan Thom, a Consultant Orthodontist whom he had known for several years to ask if he had ever come across the disease.

Together, Chris and Allan researched, spoke to dozens of people, scoured the internet and finally conceived and registered the charity “Facing Africa – NOMA”. At first they groped around in the dark looking at a variety of countries in West Africa with known incidence of Noma but getting detailed information and answers was laborious and fraught with contradictions. Should they consider finding isolated Noma sufferers and bring them to England for months of complex facial operations or try to make up a team of volunteers to deal with children in their own environments? After weighty deliberations, it was agreed that it is far more effective to put together occasional expeditions to a chosen location in Africa and operate as often as volunteers could be found and as often as could be financially viable. Chris and Allan faxed, phoned and e-mailed doctors, surgeons and hospital administrators in a variety of West African countries, but with precious little result.

But on 2nd July 2000, Chris had an fortuitous meeting with Dr Klaas Marck, founder and President of Dutch Noma Foundation (, a charity set up in 1996 that sends teams of volunteer surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists to the Childrens Noma Hospital in Sokoto, Nigeria.

Since 2000, Facing Africa has been working closely with it’s European partners AWD Stiftung Kinderhilfe (Germany) ( and The Dutch Noma Foundation . So far (Feb 2013) we have raised over £ 2.75 million (about US $ 4.4 million) which has been spent on funding the teams each year from Europe to Ethiopia (air fares, hotel accommodation, ground transportation medical equipment and supplies, hospital fees, scans, surgical instruments, capital expenditure), training schemes and many other essential expenses. It should be noted that less than 6% of Facing Africa’s turnover is spent on administration.

News & Events
Facing Africa October 2017 Mission video

Presenting Facing Africa October 2017 Mission video with a special thanks to Claire, our wonderful anesthetist, who managed to capture […]

Facing Africa on Savoo Search

We’re excited to announce Savoo Search, Save and Raise as our new fundraising partner, and we’d like to introduce you […]

God save “America” – America Molla – 3-year old Ethiopian girl with “noma”

This is America (the child with a blue necklace) with her brother, baby sister and her mum (Genet). No member […]

Recent Facebook Posts

Our faces are a dynamic canvas, one in which emotions are drawn vividly – the most powerful channel of non-verbal communication. We constantly monitor the faces of people around us because it provides vital clues to an impressive variety of possibilities: emotions, identity, age, humour, whether a person likes or dislikes us, attraction and even background. Imagine that your face is taken from you at the age of 3. Sintayhu is only 15. Affected by NOMA since her early childhood she was shy and withdrawn when she first came to us. Up to now her life has been defined by a huge gaping hole on the right side of her face. In her community, among her own people her identity was determined by the disease, which eaten away her face. She is a delightful character and we hope that her surgery in October 2017 will help her to gain the ability to share their emotions and develop a strong presence with her community and beyond. Picture credit: Emily ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Our Selam and Tina have been working in the field for the last few weeks, they are traveling in rural Ethiopia searching for new noma patients for May 2018 mission. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Facing Africa shared their video. ... See MoreSee Less

This is Legasse, after years of begging on the streets of Addis he has finally got a licence - a new...

View on Facebook