Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mother and two brothers. Sheetal suffered extensive burns to her back and leg. But she didn’t let her injuries stop her from going to school, where her favorite subject is math. When word spread that ReSurge was coming to Dehradun, India, Sheetal’s family was hopeful, but didn’t know how they were going to pay for the three hour trip. Ultimately, Sheetal’s teacher gave her the bus fare. After sleeping in the general ward of the hospital the first night, Sheetal was able to meet with ReSurge surgeons and get the help she and her mother were so hopeful for.

Sheetal is just one example of the burn victims in India. Burns are a leading cause of premature death and disability in India, and women and girls suffer burn disabilities and deaths at nearly twice the rate as other women and girls around the globe. Currently, India possesses only seven surgical specialists per 100,000 people and approximately three reconstructive plastic surgeons per 2 million people.

That’s why ReSurge is so pleased to partner with RealSelf on the launch of Beyond Scars: Healing Bodies. Restoring Lives, a new global initiative that provides burn survivors access to reconstructive surgery and medical care in India.

Next month, the Beyond Scars team will aid Camp Karma, the subcontinent’s first and only burn camp, in a country where there are more than 1.5 million pediatric burn survivors. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Vinita Puri, head of Plastic Surgery at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, Camp Karma focuses on transforming the lives of burn survivors like Sheetal by strengthening their ability to mentally, socially, and emotionally recover from their burn injuries and gain the tools they need to move past their scars.