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Boy without ears to have life-changing surgery in Scotland

Muhammed Cham, known as 'Alieu', will be operated on at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie.

Muhammed Cham: He is travelling for treatment at Monklands Hospital.
Muhammed Cham: He is travelling for treatment at Monklands Hospital.

By Courtney Cameron

A boy from Africa born without ears is travelling to Scotland next month for life-changing surgery that will allow him to hear properly for the first time.

Muhammed Cham, known as "Alieu", will be operated on at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, after a charity that provides meals and hearing aids at the St John's School for the Deaf in Gambia, spent four years planning the visit.

Volunteers first noticed the 13-year-old when he was walking around his school with his hood up, embarrassed by his disability.

The Lanarkshire-based charity teamed up with NHS Lanarkshire to offer him this life changing opportunity.

Aidan Curivan, a volunteer at Project Gambia People Feeding People, said: "He's been running around the school telling all his friends and all his teachers that he's delighted to be coming to Scotland.

"It's like a dream come true, especially for this boy, it's going to change his life, it's amazing."

He added: "The first time we noticed him we were boiling hot, it was such a hot day.

"He was over in the corner wearing his hoodie, and we were wondering why he had his hood up when the temperature was so high. 

"The teacher explained to us it was because he was embarrassed and he didn't want people to see."

'He was over in the corner wearing his hoodie, and we were wondering why he had his hood up when the temperature was so high.'
Aidan Curivan, a volunteer at Project Gambia People Feeding People

After Alieu's visa application was rejected last year, the charity are overjoyed the operation is finally happening.

Paul Lafferty, who is travelling to Gambia to bring Alieu to Scotland, added: "We got told his father was shaking when he found out, he was just so happy. We got a phonecall from his family thanking us."

Specialist ENT surgeon Arun Iyer and his medical team will carry out the surgery on Alieu's ears in their own time. He will be fitted with a specialist implant.

Mr Iyer said: "It will be an immense improvement on his quality of life.

"At the moment, he can only hear 70 decibels - which is like a very loud explosion. Once we put in this hearing aid, his hearing will become 10 decibels which is absolutely normal.

"He will be able to hear just like any other person."

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