Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Interviewed by: Maddie Johnston
Twenty-year-old Benjamin has lived with cleft lip for all of his life, facing the stigma associated with his condition on a daily basis.
“Living with the condition, I missed a lot of opportunities in life, including my education. My parents delayed my start at school, and I didn’t start my first classes until I was 12. People bullied me all the time, especially when they met me for the first time. They always stared at my face, and I felt very shy. I decided to drop out of school when I was in my third year, and I started to sell fish. But sometimes, people didn’t want to buy from me because of my condition.”
Benjamin is confident that, with the life changing surgery he has received, many opportunities are coming his way. Once he has fully recovered, he plans to return home to strengthen his business. “Now I will have a consistent income, which isn’t the case for all of the young people in my village.”