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Providing balm to burn survivors

Providing balm to burn survivors
Highlights

BSMS Trust was started in the year 2014 with the aim of creating awareness and counselling to burn survivors who have lost hopes in their life. BSMS...

• Surgeries are performed for free by three well-experienced doctors, Dr Hari Kiran Chekuri, Dr Devi Prasad Mohapatra and Dr Kiran Banda

• However, it costs a minimum of Rs 35,000 per surgery, based on how serious the case is

• Mandali cousels survivors with deformities. Her NGO Burn Survivors Mission Savior Trust raises funds through crowdfunding

Manikonda: "Yes! We are burnt, but physically not mentally," says a burn survivor victim who has left all the stereotypes behind and has become a burn survivor counselor. Meet, Neehari Mandali, 31, a burn survivor who started an NGO named 'Burn Survivors Mission Savior Trust' (BSMS Trust).

BSMS Trust was started in the year 2014 with the aim of creating awareness and counselling to burn survivors who have lost hopes in their life. BSMS mainly takes part in providing surgeries and counselling.

Neehari has helped 94 burn survivors undergo post-burn deformities surgeries and has counseled 800 victims from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pune through the BSMS which she started in 2014 while she was still recovering. They offer free of cost surgical care for burn survivors (post-burn deformities). The NGO conducts several awareness programmes on Post burn deformities, counseling, surgeries and rehabilitation.

Speaking to The Hans India, Neehari said, "I am a burn survivor myself and wanted to bring a change in the other victims of burn survivors. We focus on counseling and rehabilitating these victims who have lost their hopes of living a normal life again."

The post burn deformities surgeries are performed for free by three well-experienced doctors, Dr Hari Kiran Chekuri, Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr Devi Prasad Mohapatra, Plastic, Reconstructive, Micro vascular and Burn Surgeon, and Dr Kiran Banda, Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, Consultant Plastic. However, it costs a minimum of Rs 35,000 per surgery, based on how serious the case is. The funds are collected through crowdfunding.

Around 55 per cent victims whom Neehari has helped are women, 35 per cent victims are men and other 20 per cent victims are children. "The maximum women who are burnt survivors have either faced domestic violence or suffered accidental burns," said Neehari.

According to World Health organization, there are 10 lakh people who are moderately or severely burnt every year. There are cases of women facing domestic violence and burning themselves or being burnt by their in-laws, says Neehari. Almost 94 burn survivors have post-burn deformities surgeries and she has counselled about 800 victims so far.

Story of Neehari Mandali

Neehari Mandali is a native of the Pulligudda village in Andhra Pradesh and now stays in Manikonda, where she counsels victims. Neehari like any woman in love went against her parents' wishes and married the man she loved. Despite their mutual relationship, Neehari alleges that the physical and mental torture by her husband began from the first week of marriage.

She says, "Unhappy with life I burnt myself using kerosene. However, I survived with almost 90 per cent burns on my body. At that time, I was also two-months pregnant." It took nine different surgeries, months of hospitalisation, and a lot of courage for her to fight her own battle. A few years after the incident took place, she filed for divorce and got separated. She later enrolled herself in a correspondence course in political science.

Awards and Achievements

  1. The activities and her contribution were mentioned in a German book named 'Invisible' which was published in 2014
  2. Her autobiography was published in Malayalam in 2017, titled 'Maattathinte Kuthipp'.
  3. 'Bharat Today Prem Divas award' for best social activist in 2018.
  4. 'Lady Legend award' in 2018; 'Antyodaya Nayak' in 2019
  5. 'I am woman award' in the category of 'Women of Courage' in 2019


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