UK charity seeks Zim volunteers to help young Byo boy

Rebecca Brady─Opinion

Fri, 29 Aug 2008 03:29:00 +0000


DEAR EDITOR?I wonder if you may be able to help. I am the charity administrator for Facing the World which is a UK charity that provides facial reconstructive surgery to children in the developing world with severe facial disfigurements who are unable to access the treatment that they need in their own countries. Our entire medical team donate their services and Facing the World covers the hospital, transport and other costs.

For more information please see our website

We have a young boy, Nqobile (11 yrs) and his mother Lillian arriving from Bulawayo on the 7th of September. We hope that his surgery will be on the 27th of September at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in Fulham Road.

At present it is hoped that he will only need to have two procedures (with a 6 week break between them for recovery) and then 4 weeks to recover before going home in early December. Of course, as with all our patients it is hard to predict how well they recover or indeed how many stages will be needed until the surgeons actually see them in person.

Nqobile's story is that he was injured in a scotch cart accident in 2003 which damaged the bones of his face, particularly those around his eye. As a result his eye has "dropped" significantly as this bone had to be removed. Unfortunately the accident has also left him with a limp in his left leg which sadly we will not be able to correct. The local doctors have tried their best to treat him locally but sadly this was not possible.

We are desperate for a number of things:

1) People to volunteer for the first 2 weeks of his stay in the UK - there will be a number of appointments, scans etc and we will need (informal) translators. There will be no need for very advanced levels of English as all language used will be the language that doctors use to "mothers" rather than to other doctors.

2) People to visit both Nqobile and particularly his mother as she will be lonely and scared.

Facing the World - as a charity - covers travel, hospital, living - and if necessary accommodation - costs for all our patients and their guardians while they are in the UK. However as a charity we are obviously always grateful for any support that we can receive. We are also happy to process donations made for our patients futures (ie schooling etc) through the charity too.

Nqobile and his mother will be staying in a flat across the road from the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in Fulham Road. However if patients stay here we need support from volunteers to visit, help teach them how to shop, cook on gas ovens etc and just generally to keep them company as they adjust to life in the UK and the worry of the upcoming surgery. Just a friendly ear in their own languages - is invaluable!

Nqobile will need to attend the hospital school daily at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital so arrangements will need to be made for him (and his mother) to travel to the Chelsea daily.

If you could help us in any way with regards finding volunteers within the area or could suggest anyone you believe could assist us please do let me know.

Rebecca Brady

Administrator: Facing the World