Yahya Jabaly is just like any other 3-year-old boy. He laughs, he plays, he loves. But unlike other toddlers his age, he's had a much more difficult life. The Moroccan child was born with no functioning mouth, no nose, a hole in his face, no eyes and no padding in his skull to protect his brain.
"We don't know what causes it. It's sporadic, it's not genetic and most kids would not survive pregnancy. But some do," said Yahya's doctor, Professor Tony Holmes.
His parents had hidden him from most of the world, usually with blankets while they were out, but now they don't have to. A very risky surgery performed by surgeons in Australia has made his face look "human" again.
But the road to get there wasn't easy. Yahya's father, Mostafa El Jabaly, told SN in the below video that he and his wife went from doctor to doctor looking for help, but none would operate. It wasn't until they shared an image of their son on Facebook with a number in red asking for help did it arrive. Moroccan-born Melbourne, Australian woman Fatima Bakara came to the rescue.
After seeing Yahaya's photo, she knew she had to help by raising funds and arranging the operation back home in Australia.
"I found myself reaching for the phone and dialing the number," Bakara said. "He's just a beautiful little soul, that's all I see.
While they did find an Aussie doctor to perform the surgery in 2014, Professor Holmes, the risks were still incredibly high. Even so, they needed to get the first surgery underway in order to move on to the second operation to reconstruct his face which was so heavily disfigured.
Ultimately, they decided the risks were worth the outcome and performed the first and second surgeries to prep and reconfigure the boy's face.
And the surgery was a success...
After an 18-hour second surgery and a speedy two-week recovery, Yahya was well underway to living as a "human-looking" boy. One day, he may be even to speak properly.
"The risks of the operation were great, but I think they were worth it to give this boy a normal life," said Holmes.