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22 Sep 2020, Edition - 1897, Tuesday

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Coimbatore

Initiative for burn victims gets Rs 66.7 lakh international grant

U Bharath

Hope after Fire, an initiative for free reconstructive surgery for burn victims, pioneered by Ganga Hospitals, in a tie-up with the Rotary Club of Coimbatore Metropolis is all set for global reach thanks to the $100,000 grant it received from the Rotary Foundation.

“This noble and humane initiative, kick-started four years back has already made dreams out of nightmares and made a positive difference to the lives of burn victims from all over Tamil Nadu,” said Jairam Varadaraj, managing director of Elgi Equipments Limited, delivering his keynote address at the launch of the global grant and beneficiaries meet organised here.

The initiative, undertaken by a team of plastic surgeons headed by Dr Raja Sabapathy, has done reconstructive surgeries on 273 burn victims; 422 surgeries were performed at a cost of Rs 1.66 crore, said Varadaraj.

Rtn Kamlesh Raheja, the guest of honor, said 12 Rotary clubs in USA and Australia contributed to the grant for Hope after Fire, which was inaugurated by actor Surya in March 2012, and is set to light up the lives of many fire victims from around globe.

Over 100 beneficiaries, who took part in the meet, recounted their tales of trauma after the fire accidents and the care they got under Hope after Fire initiative.

“The poorest of the poor have benefited a lot under this initiative. The psychological boost that I received from the doctors was immense,” said Kavitha, a beneficiary from Trichy, whose face was completely mutilated in a fire accident. “Earlier people avoided any interaction with me; but now after the reconstructive surgery, I run my own tailoring shop, started with a bank loan, and have a good clientele.”

A physical director from a government school in Salem, who lost his fingers after a cracker fire accident, has resumed his duties and got back his functional fingers and is back at his work.

Rajendran from Avinashi, a victim of cooking cylinder blast, remembered how when he visited his sister’s home, a gas leak from the kitchen went unnoticed due to strong smell of jackfruit. “When my sister lighted the stove the next morning, it burst and all the seven members in my family were gravely injured. Thanks to the doctors here, we got our life back,” he said.

The services of social workers Ashok and Sinoj, who reached out and identified 28 beneficiaries in Krishnagiri district, were also felicitated on this occasion.

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