27 kids to face new brave world

OBLIVIOUS: Six-month-old Gomolemo Monaune, whose face was scarred by amniotic syndrome, seems relaxed at the Universitas hospital in BloemfonteinPhotos: supplied
OBLIVIOUS: Six-month-old Gomolemo Monaune, whose face was scarred by amniotic syndrome, seems relaxed at the Universitas hospital in BloemfonteinPhotos: supplied

CHILDREN who endured cruel jokes from friends because of facial deformities were yesterday given a new lease on life with reconstructive surgeries.

The surgeries, performed at Bloemfontein's Universitas Academic Hospital, were aimed at making them "normal" again. In total, 27 children were operated on.

One parent revealed how her daughter was told that she had "a nose like a pig's".

For Brenda Ernst, mother to Puane, 11, the taunts left both her daughter and herself heartbroken. Puane was born a twin, and her nose was left flat by the splitting of cells when they were still embryos.

"She has been called names ... other children said she had a nose like a pig's, and that hurt me a lot. I am glad though that with this operation, she will look good again."

The work on most of the children is not yet complete as they still have to go for more surgery. In Puane's case, she will continue seeing doctors until she is in her late teens.

Moira Gerzt - the operations executive director at Smile Foundation which partnered with cellphone giant Vodacom to pay for surgeries, accommodation for parents, transportation and other necessities - said as the children grew, more operations would be needed because their physical structure will change.

Tshepo Ramodibe - the executive head of corporate affairs at Vodacom, which has funded the operations for the past 14 years - said they intended assisting needy children for years to come.

selebim@sowetan.co.za

 

 

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