An operation can help - children of fire

By admin
28 June 2013

Children of Fire is Africa’s first burns charity and sources medical treatment for young burn survivors, as well as assisting them with their emotional development. Over the past 17 years the charity has helped hundreds of children and their families from across Africa, to deal with the devastating consequences of burns injuries.

The charity arranges complex surgery, occupational therapy and education for children who have been burned intentionally or by accident. Through public awareness it tries to prevent burn injuries in Southern African communities and informs people how to get the swiftest and best-possible medical treatment for children who are burned.

Realising that the socio-economic challenges of South Africa contribute to the high incidence of burns among children, the charity educates informal settlement communities on the dangers of, and ways to prevent fires. The educational drive resulted in the formation of the UMashesha ‘quick mover’ initiative. The idea was to try to sensitise people about avoidable danger. After training people in First Aid and in fire fighting / prevention, the vision was for them to learn further skills that would effectively make them public educators and community safety workers.

In a world where people are judged by how aesthetically pleasing they are, the charity promotes acceptance of physical disfigurement through media campaigns and educational talks.

In an effort to address self-esteem issues that many burn survivors face, the charity also takes teen burn survivors on hiking trips to the Drakensberg and the Magaliesberg in South Africa as well as to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2007 and the peak of Mt Cameroon in 2011. The adventures allow the teenagers to know that they can do anything that they set their minds to and to creates lifelong friendships between international burns survivors.

One of Children of Fire’s most ambitious plan is to build a Place of Miracles hospital in Botswana dedicated to the treatment of paediatric burns. In addition, it hopes to host a surgical outreach in the DRC in late 2013 or early 2014.

You too can help, from age 16 to 80, if you ask for a volunteer form by email and commit to a solid three months of assistance in fields like teaching, medical research, article writing or human rights legal research. Committed volunteers get the chance to travel widely.

To read more stories like these, visit www.youcanhelp.co.za

If you would like to find out how you can help, contact: The Children of Fire Team:

Children of Fire
(t) 011 726 6529
email: firechildren@icon.co.zaweb: www.firechildren.org

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