Life, One Chance?
is usually an audible, sharp intake of breath when people first
set eyes on them
. such is the magnitude of deformity due to
and that one 'accidental'
glance is what people are usually willing to spare them
in the hope that ignoring their existence would somehow make the
seemed to be the fate for Saqlain, Fahim, Khurram, Sajida and Areeb
victims of accidents that turned their lives into a painful, grotesque
saga. Accidents that occurred either to the carelessness and callousness
of adults or due to sheer bad luck. For instance, Saqlain Hussain
Shah got up one morning and felt like frying an egg himself
but was soon engulfed in flames. He was totally burnt all over,
and his neck became attached to his shoulder.
Shah, on the other hand, was a garage mechanic like so many other
children of his age who have to earn to support themselves and their
families. A careless cigarette smoker flung the butt, which fell
on to his clothes which had petrol on them, resulting in extensive
burns on face and body.
Sajida was travelling with her family on the train when a blast ripped
through her compartment, killing her mother, sister and brother instantly,
and she was left with the void of having lost her closest relatives,
and scars all over her body.
Mukhtar was a playful young lad who liked to experiment
not realizing how dangerous they could prove to be sometimes. Taking
the ingredients that go into making firecrackers, he decided to
pulverize them further using a sil butta (Grind Stone)
the entire thing exploded into tiny pieces, throwing him back with
.. but not before completely damaging
one of which had to be subsequently amputated.
little Areeb's story has such a familiar ring to it
burnt when a pot of hot oil accidentally fell on him in the kitchen
when he was just a three year old. He still suffers from the physical
and mental trauma of the accident, which has left large, very visible
burn marks on his body.
so many other children who have suffered similar misfortunes, these
children would have been scarred for life, physically, emotionally
and socially, because either the families simply couldn't afford
the specialized treatment needed to give them another chance at
normalcy, or it simply wasn't available here due to the severity
of the accidents.
where the House of Charity, a Houston-based organization stepped in.
being involved in similar assistance to a hospital in Lahore under
the Heal the Children Programme, the organization decided to send
its team headed by a renowned plastic surgeon Mahar Anous, who, with
the assistance of the PECHS Trauma and General Hospital carried out
extensive surgeries, assisted by the hospital's plastic surgeon, Dr.
Mazhar Nizam. He selected these five children for further treatment
in the US.
HASWA, Healthcare and Social Welfare Association was formed under
the Chairman of Dr. Najam Qureshi, and led by Dr. Feroz Ismael,
which took upon itself to ensure that this would not be a one-off
thing, but an ongoing venture
. With an expressed aim of "Let's
put a smile on their face."
would provide medical aid to those who have no resources, primarily
focussing on children with congenital or injury related deformities,
so they can get a second chance. Those who can be assisted here,
will be provided medical assistance at the PECHS Hospital, and cases
of those who cannot be assisted here will be sent for evaluation
to the House Of Charity so they can be sent abroad for treatment
not available here.
give the above mentioned five children more than one chance to lead
a normal life, Ghulam Mohammad Bombaywala, a Karachi-born American
known for his philanthropic work in Houston, and Capt. Robert Ing,
an American Airlines pilot who spends his spare time in helping
out, flew here, spent time with the children and their families,
got to know them, made the children comfortable with themselves,
and flew out
though not before some very prompt and
sensitive assistance on part of PIA Operations Control officers,
Mahmood and Ashqeen, and Capt. and crew of the flight PK. 712 to
New York who made the journey possible, and comfortable for the
children who were leaving everyone and everything familiar behind.
children there will be kept as family members, will go to school,
undergo treatment to the tune of 1 million UD$, and will be accompanied
by their escorts back to their home and families.
HASWA will be getting another batch of children ready here for them
to take with them
. So more can get more than once chance
in a lifetime.