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Help Padma Shri winner Dr Prema Dhanraj provide women suffering from burn injuries with surgery and care

Campaign by AGNI RAKSHA

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One evening in September 2018, Nethra’s alcoholic husband doused her in kerosene, set her on fire, locked the door from outside, and walked away. Hearing her wails, neighbours came to Nethra’s rescue and took her to a government hospital. Despite third-degree burns, Nethra survived after months in the hospital. But she became almost immobile. She could hardly move her hands or head as her chin was almost fused to the neck. She survived on liquid and semi-solid food as she couldn’t chew or close her mouth. “My face was so severely disfigured that my mother hid all the mirrors at home so that I would not see myself,” recalls Nethra. As the low-income family couldn’t afford proper after-care or reconstructive surgeries, Nethra was getting suicidal when Agni Raksha, a Bangalore-based NGO came to her rescue. After multiple surgeries at the NGO’s ‘Safe Haven,’ its critical care unit, Nethra is back on her feet. She is trained in tailoring and now works odd jobs and takes care of her two children.

Like Nethra, most burn victims who come to Agni Raksha belong to low-income families and almost 95% of them are women. While some are victims of severe forms of domestic violence by husbands, others try to commit suicide by immolating themselves because of constant harassment. But due to the pandemic and lack of funds, Agni Raksha run by Dr Prema Dhanraj, a burn victim herself, had to shut its free critical surgeries unit. It has been a huge blow to burn victims from low-income families. You can help Dr Prema reopen her free burn surgeries unit. 

Agni Raksha- A beacon of hope for burn survivors

Headed by Dr Prema Dhanraj, the NGO has treated over 18,000 burn victims in over 15 years. While the NGO continues to provide out-patient facilities for burn victims it had to shut down ‘Safe Haven’ its critical unit, because of a lack of funds after Covid.

“Covid was a body blow for us as we had to close Safe Haven. We have the building, beds and other facilities, but we don’t have funds to pay doctors and support staff or buy critical care equipment and medicines. I feel very bad for victims who require emergency treatment, reconstructive surgery and post-operative care. The most heartbreaking thing for me is when some burn victims are brought here first thinking that we still run Safe Haven,” says Dr Prema.

Help Dr Prema reopen Safe Haven and start providing critical care and carry out surgeries on burn victims. Donate now.

As Dr Prema can no longer conduct reconstructive surgeries and post-operative care at Agni Raksha, she refers burn survivors to different hospitals with a letter pleading that her patients cannot afford the money. “I don’t always succeed in getting them free treatment in hospitals, but I try my best. I wish I could provide all the care they need at Agni Raksha,” says Dr Prema.

Lifelong disability and disfigurements because of burns can also cause emotional problems such as depression, suicidal tendencies and nightmares. Many burn victims lose purpose in life. Keeping these things in mind, Agni Raksha provides psychological as well as vocational support so that burn survivors can go back to leading normal lives. In fact, 90% of the staff at Agni Raksha comprise burn survivors.

Your donations can help hundreds of burn victims stay hidden away from the world as they cannot afford surgeries so they can lead a normal life. Donate now



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