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Sufi is 13. Just like all teenage girls, she smiles, enjoys talking to people, loves her hair being done and is becoming a young confident adult fast.

She has dreams and wants to become a teacher one day.

Born in the town of Ambo in Ethiopia a daughter of farmers and the oldest child in the family of 6 she had many responsibilities: fetching drinking water from rivers, herding animals, caring for her younger siblings, cooking food.

At the age of 8 Sufi developed a small swelling on her jaw, and the swelling grew really fast. In few years Sufi was unable to eat, drink, talk and breathing was becoming increasingly difficult task.

The tumour was slowly killing Sufi.

This is a picture of Sufi in her house after the toumor grew so big that Sufi had to hide her face in public because people in her village would call her dirty and ugly.


Relatives and good willing people from the village gathered some money for Sufi’s treatment but no hospital in Ethiopia could help Sufi.

When Sufi reached Facing Africa through the charity called Save the Children we knew we were the only ones who could do something to help Sufi, it was clear, that if we do not operate on Sufi the girl would die.

Our lead surgeon, Kelvin Mizen spent many hours with Synthes in Belgium planning the reconstruction. Using advanced TruMatch computer enhanced technology, the team planned the jaw reconstruction using  titanium plates and bone from Sufi’s leg and to save her life.

And so in October 2016 Sufi was given a new face. A new life. A future.

Here is Sufi before her surgery

Her surgery went on for 15 long hours, but in the hands of our extremely experienced and skilled medical team she made it. After the surgery Sufi’s father said: ’’I understand it was a life and death choice for my daughter and those hours were the longest and  most stressful in my life. When I finally received the news that she survived and succeeded the big operation which is tough for 13 year old kid, I couldn’t sound out a single word, I was just crying. It was a miracle to see my daughter bretahing!’’

Here is Sufi now, almost unrecognizable…

Sufi is truly a miracle. And we are humbled and overwhelmed with joy to be part of it.


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