A seven-year-old girl in India who suffered horrific facial injuries in an acid attack is undergoing her first surgery. The attack was intended to her mother.
The victim, Julie Kumari, from Fatehpur, in Uttar Pradesh, was four years old when her father targeted her mother in a jealous rage splashing acid on her.
Due to poor financial background she has never been offered any surgery. In the attack she was left with severe burns to her face, arm, neck and chest four years ago.
Rani Devi, her mother, 31, works whenever she can earning Rs150 a day (£2), said: ‘It’s been devastating watching her suffer all these years. It used to hurt her to eat, talk and smile. Everything was a struggle for her. And it killed me inside that I couldn’t help her.’
The victim’s father Manish, 40, was angry with Rani for leaving him and re-marrying.
Her ex-husband was so jealous and outraged that he intended to pour acid on Rani and her new husband Heera Lal, 35, as they slept.
Unfortunately, the acid feel on his daughter Julie also catching Lal who was sleeping next to her.
Both the victim were rushed to the hospital. Lal suffered 60 per cent burns and died of infection.
Rani has to sell her farm for the hospital fees as Julie suffered 40 per cent burns, affecting the majority of her upper body.
Within ten days doctors discharged her saying that she would be scarred for life and there was nothing more they could do.
Rani and Julie returned home with nothing and as Julie’s injuries healed her quality of life diminished.
‘She couldn’t do anything,’ Rani said. ‘It broke my heart to watch her every day. I lost my husband, I didn’t want to lose my daughter too. I cried every night seeing by daughter in that condition. I desperately wanted her to get better. But my financial condition didn’t allow me to help my child.’
In time, Alok Singh and his team, from Chhanv Foundation, a charity that helps acid attack survivors and founded the Stop Acid Attacks campaign, came to know of Julie’s situation and offered to help her get admitted to a hospital, free of charge.
Three months ago Julie had her first surgery done at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences hospital (SGPGI), in Lucknow, where doctors operated on the skin contracted around her neck so she could move her head.
Now, she is being prepared for more surgery next month on her left eye. She will also undergo plastic surgery on her face to correct the deformities.
Rani who gave birth to a boy last month is very happy about her daughter.
She said: ‘I’m so happy that good people exist on this earth. The fact one person came forward and helped my child with her treatment is just amazing. I can never thank them enough.’
In order to provide Julie a hygienic environment post-surgery Chhanv Foundation are now raising funds to help improve the family’s living standards.
Alok Singh said: ‘When we were creating a database of acid attack cases in each district in India we come to know about Julie. We decided to visit her but when we first saw her we were shocked to see how bad a condition she was in.
‘They were living in a one-room house with no electricity and she’d never had any treatment over all these years. It was tragic.
‘But now, treatment has begun and things can only get better for her. She’s now preparing to undergo more surgeries over the coming months.’