UPDATE: Aster’s surgeries have been postponed until the doctors can schedule all of the necessary care and materials needed. While we were hoping she would have begun the process by now, it has actually given Aster time to increase her strength and weight with a dietary supplement donated by a sponsor. Currently she is #1 on the non-emergency surgery schedule.

Aster is 17 and in grade 10. She has a severe deformation that affects her tongue, her right hand, and her speech. She feels pain when she eats and swallows, and needs several minutes to finish a small piece of bread. Aster gets headaches when the temperature is hot. Her tongue is also impaired and does not come out or stretch as a normal tongue. She has become so thin and frail because she is unable to eat. When Aster was two years old, her mother took her to a neighbor’s house and asked her to watch Aster for a while, but she never returned. She was embarrassed by Aster’s deformity and did not have a way to get medical help. Aster’s father did not want her, so the neighbor kept her. She started going to New Hope School and loved it there. The teachers took an interest in her, and sponsors provided food, clothing, and medical help.

In March of 2019, Aster traveled to Mekele in the northern portion of Ethiopia where she met with a number of doctors. Her body mass index was very low, and the doctors feared she may suffer severe consequences due to the malnutrition and lack of food consumption if we do not intervene soon. The diagnosis is that she probably fell as a child, causing her mandible to lock. This prevented the growth of the mandible. The plan is to reconstruct part of the jaw by removing two ribs and using them to form the new joint. Aster will need two or three surgeries within a year. After the first surgery, she will be able to open her jaw. And about six months later, after she builds facial muscles and gains weight, the second surgery will involve moving the jaw forward. The main surgeon from India has done many similar surgeries and trained under a famous Surgeon in Zurich . He is an excellent young physician and his most recent similar surgery was about two weeks ago. He showed Aster pictures of a boy about the same age as Aster, and his ability to open his mouth . Aster saw the pictures and smiled with her eyes.

Aster loves having lots of brothers and sisters at New Hope. Her favorite thing is Church and enjoys studying Oromic in school. She would also like you to know she would like to be a doctor.

While some of the costs for Aster’s care will be absorbed by the country of Ethiopia, there may still be significant expenses related to these procedures. If you are able to help with her travel and medical expenses, we would be extremely grateful!

*Any remaining funds will be put in reserve and used for the medical care of all children at New Hope Center*