A five-year-old who was “laughed at” over her deformed mouth has undergone a stunning transformation.
Awa was so self-conscious about her cleft lip she would walk with her hand covering her mouth.
But surgery provided by a charity has fixed the defect – and the Senegalese youngster is now happy to show off her smile.
Her mum Rougui says she was worried previously about how her condition would hinder her daughter in life.
She said: “People in my village did not cast her out, but they laughed at her, and she was ashamed. She used to hide her mouth with her hand.”
Awa’s uncle Woury was determined to find help for his niece so was overjoyed when he heard that Mercy Ships was docking a hospital ship in Dakar in 2020.
The international charity provide free surgeries and medical training in disadvantaged areas of the globe.
But, due to the pandemic, all planned medical services were suspended, and Awa missed out on the surgery she desperately needed.
Two years later, Mercy Ships returned – but Woury had passed away a few months prior.
His dying wish was to see his niece get the help she needed and last year Awa underwent a successful operation to fix her cleft lip.
Photos show her incredible smile transformation.
Rougui said: “On the day of our discharge from the Africa Mercy, I thought of many things.
“The last time Awa and I left a hospital, it was the day she was born, and she had a cleft lip.
“Everything is different now. She is healed, we have been well cared for, and we get to go home together.
“It is a great joy, this day!”