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Neehaari Mandali is helping burn survivors with free reconstructive surgeries in Kerala

The camp is being organised jointly by Neehaari’s Burn Survivor Mission Saviour Trust, Pettah Cosmetiq Clinic, Kerala Plastic Surgeons Association and Trivandrum Round Table 66.

Published: 31st October 2021 02:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st October 2021 01:25 PM   |  A+A-

A burn survivor herself, Neehaari’s is a tale of survival.

A burn survivor herself, Neehaari’s is a tale of survival.

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  A small nap while preparing for her Class 12 examinations had cost Reshma Rajan dearly. As she drifted off to sleep, Reshma had accidentally fallen onto the kerosene lamp she was using to study after the power supply was cut, causing her clothes to catch fire and leaving her with 50% burn injuries on her neck. Even after two surgeries, life as she knew it was beyond reach.

On Tuesday, Reshma underwent a reconstructive surgery that would increase the functionality of her neck and release the post-burn contracture, all expenses paid. “Earlier, the tightness in my neck didn’t allow me to even move my neck upwards. This surgery will help address that issue,” said Reshma, a Kottayam native. According to her mother Sujatha Rajan, it was the expense involved that had deterred the family from going ahead with the procedure so far. “When we learnt about the free surgery from the newspaper, we thought of applying,” Sujatha said.

Reshma is among the 15 burn survivors chosen from Kerala by Andhra Pradesh-based burn survivor and activist Neehaari Mandali for her free post-burn reconstructive surgery camp. The beneficiaries were selected based on the severity of their burns, economic background and mental strength. The camp is being organised jointly by Neehaari’s Burn Survivor Mission Saviour Trust, Pettah Cosmetiq Clinic, Kerala Plastic Surgeons Association and Trivandrum Round Table 66.

A burn survivor herself, Neehaari’s is a tale of survival. All of 20 when she got married, the abuse by her husband’s family made her attempt suicide by setting herself on fire. Though she managed to survive, she suffered 60% burn injuries. “Later, I started to work as a counsellor for other people like me. That’s when I knew I had to do something more to help them,” she recalled.

And thus Neehaari launched her charitable trust. The doctors perform the surgery for free. The expenses incurred for the disposables, anaesthesia and so on are met via the trust or from her own pocket. “Burn survivors are forced to confine themselves to the four walls of their home because of societal stigma. This is not a way to live,” said Neehaari, who is dedicated to bringing more awareness among the public on the issue.



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