KIRF ready to launch awareness campaign for burning kids

Slough: The 3rd Annual Surgical Camp of Kashmir International Relief Fund KIRF will be taking place from the 2nd March – 14th March 2014. This project has been named as “1000 Smile4Kashmir”. This year it has the highest number of medical professionals (18) travelling to KIRF Community Hospital to participate in the Camp. Team will include 4 members from Denmark and 1 from Switzerland. This year’s camp is partly funded by KFDK (Kashmir Fund Denmark) and DMA (Danish Muslim Aid) who are the sister organisations in Denmark, as they sponsored last year’s camp.

KIRF will be launching an awareness campaign this year for those children who have been burned due to negligence of parents or carers. This campaign will be launched on the 2nd March at KIRF Community Hospital, Jatlan. KIRF team will develop and take the campaign to all areas of Azad Kashmir and adjoining districts of Pakistan. Local Organisations, Masjids, Schools, Colleges, Local Media and Health Centres will be enlisted for this campaign.

KIRF’s journey initially began with the project, “100 Smiles for Kashmir,” to fund the treatment of 100 people experiencing severe facial disfigurement through the provision of surgical interventions over a two week reconstructive plastic surgery camp. These surgeries are to improve the lives of the patients who through no fault of their own suffer with these disfigurements. The surgeries in no way are for Vanity reasons. In May 2012 KIRF took a team of volunteer surgeons to Pakistan administered Kashmir to deliver these interventions. This team was headed by Mr Charles Viva (Interplast UK) a renowned plastic surgeon. By the end of the surgery camp, successful surgical intervention had been received by 158 people and medical check-ups carried out with 350 people, surpassing the original target of 100.

As awareness of KIRF work increases, the scale of the problem and sheer need for intervention has emerged. Prior to the surgery camp being held, KIRF had a waiting list of over 1000 people with severe facial disfigurements, ages ranging from 6 week old babies to 70 year olds, located throughout Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. We had patients ringing us from Karachi to Bajorh agency, Pakistan and all across Azad Kashmir. One little boy was brought from Bahawalpur some 1400 kilometres from our hospital. Some patients travelled all day to reach the camp. One family had to walk all day before they could get to transport and then spent a second day travelling. The waiting list continues to grow, with people living with conditions such as cleft lips, cleft palates, acid burns and others. They have no hope of receiving corrective surgery unless organisations such as KIRF intervene. The result is evident through the wonderful endless smiles of people who received the surgical interventions.

The success of the project has built on the tremendous impact achieved through KIRF Community Hospital where the surgery camp was held. This hospital was built by KIRF and opened its doors to the people of Kashmir in September 2004. We also joined hands with local volunteers from the Umeed Project in Mirpur.