CELTIC Football Club is delighted to be welcoming a brave African schoolboy to Celtic Park this Sunday for our Scottish Cup match against St. Johnstone as he continues his journey towards achieving the gift of hearing for the first time.
Lanarkshire charity Project Gambia: People Feeding People have been successful in their bid to bring deaf schoolboy Muhammed Cham (13), known as Alieu, to Scotland for life-changing 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 will be a special guest at Celtic Park as he takes in the Hoops’ home Scottish Cup match against St. Johnstone 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.
“My wife and my daughter, Rebecca, have met him as well, so he’ll be one of the family while he’s here. Despite, the challenges in his life Alieu is someone who tries hard to do the things any other litte boy would do. He loves football and to visit Celtic Park will be the icing on the cake for Alieu and I am sure 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 now we are delighted to welcome him to Celtic Park, where we hope he has a day to remember.”