Last year, Mamamia wrote about a woman named Ayan.
When Ayan was two-years-old – a bullet ripped through her cheekbone after she was caught in crossfire during the Somali civil war – ripping her face in two.
Not only has this changed forever the way the world looks at her – but it also makes it impossible for her to eat, drink or close her eyes properly.
But 20 years later, Ayan was given hope when a team of medical specialists and a Brisbane Private Hospital offered Ayan help. They would perform surgery on her, for free. All she needed to do was get into the country.
However, when she applied for a visa to access this surgery in Australia, she was deemed to be a “non-genuine visitor.”
What followed was a team of Australians pulling together, in order to try and get Ayan access to the surgery she so desperately needed – and we asked Mamamia readers to help, by signing her petition on Change.org.
And after more than 40,000 people signed the petition – Immigration Minister Scott Morrison overturned her previous visa ban. Ayan can now receive the surgery she needs.
The organiser of the petition, Noela Phillips from the Rotary Club of Brisbane High-Rise, said, “This is just so exciting and it is a great demonstration of people power.” She continued:
Ayan’s visa has been approved and she is scheduled to undergo her facial reconstruction surgery at the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane on 22nd February.
For Ayan, the Australian Government’s decision will allow her to enjoy a life of dignity free from daily embarrassment. Most importantly, she will be able to eat without food pouring from the gaping hole in her face.
On behalf of the Ayan Project Team, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the more than 40,000 people who signed our change.org petition. We have no doubt the petition played an important part in the Minister’s decision.
We would also like to congratulate Mr Morrison for making the right and decent decision.
And from the Mamamia Team – thank you to our wonderful readers who took the time to sign the petition and make a difference.