Fac­ing the World: excel­lent use of video

Exhibited by
Karin Weatherup, creative director, Burnett Works.
November 20, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

The film is very clear about what a difference the supporter makes. There is a before and after. It is all kept very human and the surgeons are the heroes. The impact of facial deformity in everyday life is evident and powerful, but it’s not sentimental, just very moving.

Facing The World

Creator / originator

Facing the World.

Summary / objectives

The video is used as a tool to raise the money needed to provide life-changing craniofacial surgery to some of the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Through their work they help to restore children’s hopes and aspirations, enabling them to lead more independent lives.


Facing the World was founded in 2002 by craniofacial surgeons Martin Kelly and Norman Waterhouse. Both had undertaken numerous volunteering missions overseas with charities such as Médecins Sans Frontières

Martin was volunteering in Afghanistan with Children in Need when he met a young girl called Hadisa. At eight months old, she was carried hundreds of miles by her father to receive treatment after the village elders tried to stone her to death for the shame they thought she brought to their community. The medical facilities in Kabul were not equipped to deal with the severity of Hadisa’s condition. This was a situation Martin and Norman had experienced all too often whilst volunteering overseas. Martin decided Hadisa’s only option was to come to London for treatment.

Within the developed world people are rarely exposed to children who suffer from facial deformities as cases are relatively rare and treated early through healthcare systems. In the developing world, children with such conditions are not so lucky and often suffer a life of persecution, isolation, poor health and even premature death.There can be many reasons for childhood disfigurement. Some children are disfigured from birth because their parents carry a hidden gene; others are exposed to environmental pollutants before they are born. Sometimes the reason isn’t obvious. Some start their lives healthy but have accidents or develop tumours.

Facing the World’s surgeons are world leaders in their respective fields and have pioneered a multidisciplinary approach bringing together expert anaesthetists, craniofacial, maxillofacial and ophthalmic surgeons. Together they work to provide ground-breaking surgery to help these children have a life free from pain and suffering. The team also shares their knowledge with surgeons in developing countries, principally Vietnam.

Whilst the time given by volunteer medical teams is free, the hospital and the travel costs are not. Facing the World receives no statutory funding and is reliant on the support of individuals.

Special characteristics

Facing the World have used film right from the start. There’s always a fine line between showing the intervention – the operation – and turning people off, as lots of people really don’t like blood. Facing the World have made a film that keeps the viewer watching and deeply moved. They show films at major donor events, or where the surgeons speak and on their website.

Influence / impact

It’s hard to measure impact as there’s no dotted line between film and donation.


Every charity should have something like this. It’s worth working really hard to make it because it can underpin so many types of fundraising – major donor dinners, the centrepiece of events, online recruitment, driving direct mail recipients online and so many more.

Other relevant information

Sadly in 2008 Martin Kelly died suddenly, through an undetected heart defect, a tragic loss for his family and friends, the charity and the worldwide plastic surgery community. Martin was an exceptionally accomplished surgeon and an internationally renowned leader in the world of facial reconstruction, a constant inspiration for his colleagues. He strove for perfection and his attention to detail and meticulous planning of surgery were the hallmarks of his work. However, more importantly he was an incredibly compassionate human being and he campaigned relentlessly to raise the funds necessary to bring disadvantaged children to the UK for surgery. Facing the World is testament to his drive and determination and will forever be one of his many legacies.

Norman Waterhouse is still very much involved in the charity and served as chair of the board of trustees until 2013. A hugely respected surgeon in his field, Norman was previously the head of the craniofacial unit at the Chelsea & Westminster hospital and is a past president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He teaches and lectures both nationally and internationally and his experience and knowledge are of great benefit to the charity. His involvement keeps Facing the World true to their original ideals and focused on trying to provide as much support as they can for children suffering from devastating facial deformities.

SOFII's Once Upon I Wish I'd Thought Of That 2013 - 20. Karin Weatherup presents Facing the World