A Bellshill-based charity is in Africa this week to bring a young boy born without ears to Scotland for life-changing surgery.
Project Gambia People Feeding People has spent four years planning for the visit of Muhammed Cham (better known as wee Alieu).
Alieu attends St John’s School for the Deaf in Gambia and his plight came to the charity’s attention while on a mercy mission to provide meals and hearing aids.
The youngster’s initial visa application was rejected last year, but he has now been awarded a “Short Stay Medical Visa” and will be operated on at University Hospital Monklands.
The charity’s Paul Lafferty flew to Gambia on Saturday to collect Alieu and is due to fly back with him this weekend.
The surgery to fit a specialist implant will be carried out by Specialist ENT surgeon Mr Arunachalam Perumkulam Iyer and his team after they have finished their shifts.
At the moment Alieu can only hear 70 decibels, but it is hoped after the procedure will become 10 decibels.
Aidan Curivan, a volunteer at Project Gambia People Feeding People, said: “We are delighted that “wee Alieu” will be joining us in Scotland very soon!
“This has been the culmination of years of hard work by Project Gambia volunteers who never gave up despite set-backs along the way.
“We promised Alieu that we would get him sorted and we are thrilled to be able to deliver that promise. Thank you to everyone who helped this dream become a reality!”
As Alieu will be away from home on his birthday the charity is organising him one at 7pm on Saturday, March 16, in Holy Family Parish, Mossend, to which all are welcome.
The youngster has asked that people don’t bring him gifts, but instead make a donation to the charity.
To help Alieu and children like him at St John’s School for the Deaf visit www.justgiving.com/project-gambia.