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Living with Burn Injuries

Pushpa's Story

Pushpa is a single HIV+ mother with 3 children; one of whom it also HIV+. The charity first met her when she attended one of our monthly meetings for women living with HIV. The meetings provide an opportunity for women to come together, share their problems and to receive assistance and nutritional support from WIN.

Pushpa came to just a few of the meetings; so not seeing or hearing from her some months later one of our social workers paid her a visit. Unfortunately, she found Pushpa with 2nd degree burns extending from her chin to her stomach and covering her arms. She said it was an accident caused by an oil lamp; but we later discovered that it was attempted suicide. The burns though only a few months old had caused contracture of the skin making it difficult for her to lift her head or straighten her arms; they were also extremely painful.

Desperate to earn money she approached her old employees; housewives who’d employed her to clean their homes. After seeing her burns they were unwilling to take her back.

Struggling as a single, HV+ mother living in extreme poverty had been hard enough, now Pushpa had significantly added to her problems, and regretted what she had done.

Today WIN is helping her re-build her life. With counselling she is now coping well, while corrective splints are improving her mobility. The charity has also persuaded a new group of local housewives to employ her as a cleaner, understanding of her current physical limitations. The charity is also supplementing her income by providing general goods until her health improves further.

Swathi‘s Story

With nowhere else to go 24 year old Swathi recently moved in with her widowed, HIV+ aunt, elderly grandmother and young cousin. Her mother died when she was a child and her father asked her to leave because there was little prospect of his daughter getting married and she had become a financial burden.

Swathi suffers from epilepsy and 8 years ago following a seizure, fell into the cooking fire and was severely burnt. The scars are unsightly, which is the reason why her father has been unable to arrange her marriage.

Though her aunt’s health and financial status is poor, she was at least willing to shelter Swathi; a life on the streets as an alternative would be a bleak prospect for any young woman.

With the possibility of her aunt being unable to shelter Swathi long term, Women In Need is offering hope. Already she has enrolled on a 3 month computer training course in conjunction with tuition for her 10th standard exams, which she was unable to take after her accident. Swathi’s dream is to become a nurse and we are going to help her realise that dream.

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