When Premier’s MD Jerry Marks discovered the small UK-based charity Project Harar, he was keen to see if Premier could support their work with children and young people in Ethopia.
Project Harar specialises in helping young people with facial disfigurements. The charity, founded 15 years ago, takes a UK-based volunteer medical team to Ethiopia once a year to provide more complicated surgeries and social support to patients with conditions ranging from burns and hyena attack injuries to noma (a facial gangrene), giant tumours, gunshot wounds and trismus (lockjaw).
Facial disfigurements can prevent children in Ethiopia from being able to eat, drink and even breathe normally, and sufferers often encounter stigma and bullying. Project Harar’s work makes it more likely that children will go to school to get an education, and be accepted among their local communities.
Premier Workplace Services is proud to support the charity by offering to provide any required equipment or furniture through the Giving Back Project and also sponsoring t-shirts which will be worn by the Project Harar medic team and will be sold and work during fundraising events throughout 2017. Victoria Clare, Director of Project Harar, said: ‘We are so, so grateful to Premier Workplace Services for sponsoring our t-shirts. It’s really unusual to be able to get funding for resources like these and Premiers’ sponsorship will help hundreds of children with facial conditions to get the surgery and social support that they need to live happy lives full of potential in their communities, without the fear of stigma.’
13-year-old Elili came to Project Harar in 2015 with a huge tumour in her jaw, an ameloblastoma. Though benign, Elili’s tumour meant her face was so swollen that she had only a tiny space in her mouth through which to push her food when she ate. By 2016 Project Harar’s surgeons had discovered a potential treatment. It was not a moment too soon, the tumour was growing rapidly and was threatening Elili’s life.
The operation was a tough one. The tumour had to be removed, a procedure which took several hours and completely changed the structure of her face. Her brother waited anxiously for her to come out of surgery. When she finally did, his face broke out in a huge grin. The operation had been a success. Elili’s life has been transformed. She can now open and close her jaw properly, eat more easily, and no longer has problems with breathing. But her happiest thought? ‘I can’t wait to go home and start at school again. My friends will be amazed that my face has changed so much! I will work hard now to become an engineer, so I can put some good back into the world that has been so good to me.’
See her story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DfHarr6VQQ