Facing the future with dignity

I am MAF Reporter LuAnne Cadd. I’ve spent the last few years visiting our many lifelines and I’d like to tell you about a project in Bangladesh that has touched me

Facing the future with dignity

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It’s a partnership between MAF and WomenforWomen, an international group of female plastic surgeons who volunteer their time travelling overseas to help other women. This project is bringing life-saving medical care to some of the country’s poorest, most marginalised women and girls – those left disfigured by acid attacks and oil burns. 

Jahanara

When her husband walked out, Jahanara (pictured above) and their child had no choice but to move back to her mother’s house.

Today, they live on one of Bangladesh’s chars – river islands made from silt that, when washed away by flooding, destroy the homes and few possessions people have.

One terrible evening, Jahanara’s child was asleep on her lap when the family’s stove exploded covering them both with flaming oil.

Screaming, she tried desperately to save her child, but there was nothing she could do – and her little one died a few days later.

Jahanara’s hand was so badly burned that it was useless afterwards.

Twenty-three years old and without a husband to protect her, Jahanara’s future looked bleak in a country where girls marry at puberty, women are often treated as second-class citizens and disabled people are routinely shunned.

Jahanara’s future would have remained that way if the surgeons from WomenforWomen hadn’t been able to reach her.

But thanks to MAF’s regular flights, which are made possible by your gifts and prayers, they were!

Bangladesh Country Director and MAF Pilot Mark Blomberg 2

And, on board the Friendship Hospital ship, the surgeons painstakingly repaired Jahanara’s damaged hand. They also gave her the chance to overcome her tragic past by suggesting ways she could learn new skills, find a job and work her way out of poverty – something that few women on the chars have the opportunity to do.

‘The foreign doctors have given me hope,’          explains Jahanara

 

The skill and self-sacrifice of the WomenforWomen plastic surgeons is crucial for people like her – as is the kindness and commitment you show to MAF. Because without you, our planes couldn’t fly and many burns victims would suffer for the rest of their lives.

So please, if you can, send a gift this Christmas that will help the MAF family play its part in restoring dignity to those who are marginalised or on the fringes of society. 

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Atiya

Your prayers and gifts transform the lives of people like Atiya (pictured above), who was just four years old when her dress caught fire. She was left so badly burnt that her right hand was fused to her body and her disfigured mouth was unable to close properly.

In constant pain, Atiya became lonely and withdrawn. She struggled to make friends and relied on her mother to do everything for her. She was convinced she was about to die.

But, now aged 12 years old, the darkness Atiya once felt has turned to light because of life-enhancing surgery carried out by WomenforWomen.

The burnt side of her body has been restored and her lip reconstructed, so she can finally grow properly and live with dignity – as every young girl should.  

There are thousands of women and girls in Bangladesh whose lives have been destroyed by burns, and the need for WomenforWomen's work has never been greater. But it takes eight hours by road and then a boat trip just to reach the Friendship Hospital. The journey is dangerous and exhausting, and gives the doctors far less time for their many patients. 

However, your support means MAF can fly the team to the hospital in just 45 minutes.

We can give these dedicated surgeons precious extra time to care for the many women and children who are suffering from life-shattering burns.

I wanted to tell you about this partnership because it shows what a blessing MAF is to one of the world’s poorest countries. Guided by God and supported by you, we are reaching people who’ve been forgotten by society.

We are helping to change lives in Bangladesh and around the globe by providing people with dignity and a future – but we cannot continue without you.

So, will you help us continue to do that this Christmas? Please make a gift of dignity and transform the future for people in Bangladesh and thousands more worldwide.

Thank you so much for your gifts and prayers.

Atiya and her mum

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