Published: 30th July 2018
These acid attack survivors are getting free surgeries, all thanks to King Khan
Shah Rukh Khan's Meer Foundation, NGO Atijeevan Foundation and New Hope Medical Centre are conducting a plastic surgery camp for acid attack survivors
On this year's National Plastic Surgery Day, 25 acid attack survivors from across the country arrived at Chennai. Their eyes were no longer wet and the scars that a jilted lover or a jealous colleague gifted them through a vile of acid no longer seemed to bother them. You may wonder why. It is because they finally had new hopes for a brighter future, thanks to the plastic surgery camp organised by Shah Rukh Khan's Meer Foundation, Atijeevan Foundation, a Bengaluru-based NGO that works for the welfare of burn survivors and New Hope Medical Centre, Chennai.
The camp that began on July 13 aims to perform surgeries on 25 acid attack survivors by the end of the month. Of them, 15 surgeries are sponsored by Meer Foundation. "These survivors who are a part of the camp are from different parts of the country. The aesthetic part of it is also being taken care of," says Pragya Singh, the founder of Atijeevan Foundation. An acid attack survivor herself, Pragya has been working towards this cause for the past five years.
New beginnings: Actor Gautami Tadimalla with Pragya Singh and the members of Atijeevan Foundation
"I was attacked in 2006, 12 days after my wedding by a man who wanted to marry me. I had completed my Masters by then and was about to attend my campus placements. My entire treatment took place in Chennai, since then I've been associated with doctors in Chennai," Pragya narrates her story. The connection later came in handy when she set out to help others who were suffering in a similar way.
This isn't their first burns camp. They've had success stories previously too. "I started the burns camp last year. This is our third camp. The second camp was held in Uttarakhand, where we took a team of five doctors from Chennai to Uttarakhand and got 23 surgeries in 3 days. From 7 am to 11 pm, the doctors were continuously operating. They'd done it voluntarily. They had taken their weekend leaves to perform the surgeries," she tells us.
Pragya also tells us the problems that most of the patients face during their treatment. "I have noticed that there is a lack of understanding between the doctors and patients. Patients don't ask the doctors about their treatment and there are cases when their surgery is not performed by the right plastic surgeon."
Because they matter: A few staff of the New Hope Medical Centre were felicitated during the camp
Now, it was time for the question that I've been waiting to ask Pragya. Has King Khan visited any of these survivors? The answer did surprise me. "SRK had met a few survivors more than a year and a half ago. Almost all of them know that Shah Rukh helped them sponsor the surgeries. All of them want to see them and hear his voice, but its not possible. It is great that he's helping us for the past four years," says Pragya signing off.