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  • Alieu enjoys his special day at Paradise

    Alieu enjoys his special day at Paradise

    By: Newsroom Staff on 11 Feb, 2019 12:01

  • A YOUNG Gambian boy who is currently in Scotland for life-changing surgery that could ultimately allow him to hear for the first time in his life was a special guest at Celtic Park on Sunday for the Hoops’ Scottish Cup tie against St Johnstone.

    Muhammed Cham (age 13), known as Alieu, made the half-time Paradise Windfall draw, and he received the warmest of welcomes from the Celtic supporters as he made his way on to the pitch.

    Lanarkshire charity Project Gambia: People Feeding People have been successful in their bid to bring Alieu to Scotland for the surgery.

    Alieu is a pupil at St John’s School for the Deaf, in the Serrekunda region of the African nation, and he first met the Project Gambia team last year while they were they were there on an aid mission.

    The charity, which provides clothes, food and hearing aids to St John’s School, first encountered Mohammed a few years ago when the organisation was in its early days. The charity volunteers were touched by the fact that Alieu had been born with no external ears, and they decided to see what additional support they could offer.

    Project Gambia discovered the youngster’s condition could be improved through two operations that would allow him to have a hearing aid installed, which will ultimately grant him a better quality of life.

    And with the help of Arunachalam Perumkulam Iyer and his team at University Hospital Monklands, Alieu has now arrived in Scotland and is currently undergoing a period of surgery to achieve the gift of hearing - to hear for the first time in his life.

    Project Gambia have known and worked alongside Alieu and his family for four years. Amazingly, through Celtic and Celtic FC Foundation’s earlier support of Project Gambia through gift of kit, Alieu was previously given a Celtic jersey and wore it with pride at home in Gambia. 

    Now he has the latest version of the Hoops, and he was delighted to wear the special shirt with pride at Paradise on Sunday.

    Project Gambia co-founder Paul Lafferty said: ”We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this impossible venture possible, including all those people who played such an important role in ensuring the completion and granting of Alieu’s visa application as well as all those amazing people who are providing this brilliant medical support.

    "We’d also like to give a special thank you to all of our fantastic supporters and volunteers, who have been supporting and praying for us every step of the way and have made this dream come true. Alieu knows us all well through visiting his school so we are no strangers to him.

    "He loves football and to visit Celtic Park was the icing on the cake for Alieu. It's an experience he will never forget.”

    A spokesperson for Celtic added: “Clearly, Alieu has been through so much in his life and it is fantastic now that is achieving such life-changing support through the hard work of Project Gambia. 

    "It is amazing that he already has a Celtic jersey and knowledge of the club through our previous contact with the charity, and we were delighted to welcome him to Celtic Park for a day to remember.”

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