A new face for Yahya

A Moroccan boy who was born without eyes, a nose, or a fully formed mouth has undergone marathon surgery to give him a new face.

Three-year-old Yahya Jabaly has undergone the risky reconstructive surgery performed by Professor Tony Holmes, the same Melbourne surgeon who helped separate conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna.

The surgery and the moment Yahya's parents saw his new face aired on Seven's Sunday Night.

Born in a tiny village near Tangiers, Yahya's skull bones failed to fuse in the womb and doctors didn’t expect him to survive long after birth.

"We don’t know what causes it. It's sporadic, it’s not genetic and most kids would not survive pregnancy. But some do," Professor Holmes said.

"You can see his mouth is opened and turned to the side and his brain, there is no bone it’s just skin, and yet despite his deformity this is a beautiful, very sweet boy." Reporter Dr Andrew Rochford said.

Yahya's father, Mostafa, said he took his son from surgeon to surgeon trying to get help after he was born, but no one would operate.



It was Moroccan-born Melbourne woman Fatima Bakara who saw his picture on Facebook and set about tracking down a surgeon who would help.

Professor Tony Holmes met Yahya for the first time in 2014 and spent months planning and preparing for the surgery to give him a face using models of his skull.

"I believe that it’s the right of everybody to look human and this kid doesn’t look human," Dr Holmes said.

Even for one of the best reconstructive surgeons in Australia, the risk was high.

"Yahya may not die if we don’t operate but he might if we do," Professor Holmes said prior to surgery.

“I think this one is about as difficult as it gets. A 9.5-out-of-10 degree of difficulty.”

"My biggest concern [was] whether or not he is suitable for surgery, we really do not know how he is functioning and how the brain is functioning."

Ms Baraka accommodated the family in Australia for Yahya's treatment and started raising funds for his care

"It was this little boy who had a what looked like a big hole in the middle of his face, his teeth were all crooked, kind of going up towards where his nose should have been… he didn’t have any eyes," she said of meeting him for the first time.

Yahya after the first 19-hour surgery

“I don’t see a deformed child I just see this beautiful little child, a beautiful little soul, that’s all I see."

It took surgeons nearly 20 hours to build him a new face and the result, to air this week on Sunday Night, is incredible.

"This is cranio-facial neurosurgery at its extreme," Dr Holmes said.

To donate to Yahya's Appeal and support this brave little boy, use the button below.


Visit the Moroccan Children's Appeal website

Email: info@moroccanchildrensappeal.com.au

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