|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
US charity lends a helping hand to maimed girl
George Iype in Kochi | November 24, 2003 18:37 IST
A United States-based charity organisation headed by a Pakistani has come to the rescue of a girl child whose right arm was sheared off from the shoulder during a road accident three years ago.
The Buhari family was traveling in a bus on September 11, 2000 when it collided with another vehicle. The family was traumatised as seven-year-old Akhila's right arm was sheared off from the shoulder.
In the last three years, her father K Buhari, a primary school teacher at Nedumangad in Kerala, had taken the child to a number of medical institutes across India for treatment.
The doctors at the Artificial Limb Center, Pune, suggested that the kind of amputation and artificial arm replacement that Akhila requires was not available in India. "We had lost all hope as doctors suggested that she be taken to America or Germany," Buhari said. Doctors also warned that any delay in the arm replacement procedure would lead to serious problems in Akhila's spinal cord.
Buhari's requests for financial assistance from the state and central governments yielded no results. But, he says, President A P J Abdul Kalam's office offered all financial help if Akhila is treated in India.
"Faced with no means, I approached a few newspapers and television channels for help. It was then that the House of Charity came forward to help us," Buhari said. "We are deeply indebted to the House of Charity for its generous and unbelievable help," he added.
The House of Charity, headed by Hashmat Effendy, said Akhila is the first child from India to be selected for medical treatment in the US. Effendy got to know of the Buhari family's plight through emails and newspapers and offered to take Akhila to the US for expert medical treatment and provide her with an artificial arm.
Last week, the House of Charity sent a nurse to take the child to the US. The Non-Resident Keralites Association is bearing the cost of Akhila's travel.
Dr Stephen R Wilson of the Hangers Prosthetics and Orthodontics Centre in Texas will fit a replacement for Akhila's arm. The treatment will include extensive work in fabrication of the body-powered shoulder disarticulation prosthesis.
The Hanger's Institute has offered free treatment for Akhila while the House of Charity will look after the child till she is medically fit to return home.
Three days after she left for Texas, her parents are nervous but happy. "We pray every day for our daughter. The replacement of her arm will be put in place this week," Buhari told rediff.com. He still cannot believe his daughter's good fortune.Despite her travails, Akhila had managed to maintain high grades in her studies. Last year, she bagged the second rank in a national school scholarship examination, writing with her left hand.
More reports from Kerala