Little Yahya Zohra is the boy with no face.
His facial bones didn’t fuse properly the womb, so he was born without eyes, without a nose and without a functioning mouth.
But despite all the odds, Yahya was born safely — and he’s now a sweet, cheeky three-year-old who’s adored by his family and his next-door neighbour friend, Heba.
Life is far from easy for little Yahya, though. He can’t speak or see, and is forced to communicate only in grunts.
While his family have sought expert assistance, surgeon after surgeon told his family they couldn’t operate to improve his condition, his father Mostapha told Seven’s Sunday Night program.
But now the little boy’s quality of life may be about to improve dramatically — because he will soon be treated by Dr Tony Holmes, the same Melbourne reconstructive surgeon who operated to separate conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna.
“I believe that it’s the right of everybody to look human and this kid doesn’t look human,” Dr Holmes told Sunday Night.
“We don’t know what causes it. Its sporadic, it’s not genetic and most kids would not survive pregnancy,” Dr Holmes said. “But some do.”
Dr Holmes first learned of Yahya’s condition when Moroccan-born Melbourne woman Fatima Bakara saw his story on Facebook, and set about tracking down a suitable surgeon.
Dr Holmes eventually agreed to assess the little boy and, as Sunday Night revealed, the pair met in August for the first time for an assessment.
The surgeon said he hopes to complete the first of many operations on Yahya in Melbourne by the end of the year — but stressed the process would be a complex one.
“My biggest concern is whether or not he is suitable for surgery, we really do not know how he is functioning and how the brain is functioning,” Dr Holmes said.
“I think this one is about as difficult as it gets, on the you know, this is a 9-9.50 out of 10 degree of difficulty without any doubt,” Dr Holmes said.
“This is cranio-facial neurosurgery at its extreme.”
Dr Holmes said little Yahya — who never enters the local village, except when wrapped in a blanket by his parents — was a lovely boy.
“(D)espite his deformity this is a beautiful, very sweet boy,” he said.
“You can understand just why his parents were so desperate to find him help.”
All our thoughts and best wishes are with Yahya and his family as he begins to prepare for a long and complicated surgical process.
In 2009, conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna — who were born joined at the brain — were saved by Dr Holmes. This segment from Channel Seven’s Trishna & Krishna: The Quest for Separate Lives follows some of their extraordinary journey: