A boy from Africa born without ears has undergone life-changing surgery in Scotland which has allowed him to hear properly for the first time.
Muhammed Cham from Gambia, known as Alieu, was born with no external ears.
Volunteers from Project Gambia, a Lanarkshire-based charity, first noticed Alieu when he was eight years old as he walked around his school with his hood up, embarrassed by his disability.
The charity, which provides meals and hearing aids at the St John’s School for the Deaf in Gambia, was able to give him a temporary hearing aid.
After teaming up with NHS Lanarkshire, the charity spent four years planning Alieu’s visit in order for him to receive the life-changing surgery.
His parents gave permission for the youngster to travel and live with volunteers while he underwent the operation at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie last month.
Now Alieu has completed his treatment on his 14th birthday, with his surgeon Arun Iyer wishing him a happy birthday as he tried on his new hearing aids.
The bone-anchored hearing devices pick up sound and send it to the inner ear through vibrations.
The surgery was completed in Dr Iyer and his team’s own time.
Dr Iyer said: “He is not the same man I saw six weeks ago, he’s grown in confidence.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to help somebody who is otherwise not able to achieve their full potential.”
Hearing tests have shown an immediate difference, with Alieu able to understand whispered words and respond when asked his name.
His family were delighted as Alieu phoned home, able to exchange words with his little brother and father some 4000 miles away.
Alieu’s father exclaimed “thank you, thank you” down the line to the charity’s volunteers and medical teams involved with the case.
The teenager will return home to Gambia at the end of the month with new stories from his time in Scotland, including his first experience of snow.