Gharam the fashionista

Gharam was just seven years old in 2012 when she was burnt by hot water in her village, when a thermos of scorching hot coffee was dropped on her after the shock of a nearby explosion.

Gharam's grandmother immediately tried to help her by putting her under cold water, but the damage had already occurred. Gharam had severe burns. 

Gharam was treated in Syria, but the hospital there did not have the capacity to treat a case as severe as hers. In the hope of finding additional treatment for the third and fourth degree burns and to escape the worsening situation in Syria, her family decided to flee to Lebanon. 

Gharam's current living conditions 

Gharam's five siblings and her parents now live in a small two-bedroom apartment with three uncles. Gharam's parents cannot afford to send her to school. She and her sisters spend their time dressing up in saris and dancing when they see Bollywood films on television, something they love to do.

INARA board member, Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), offered to take on the case pro bono five months ago. Without surgery, the the burn scar on the neck would eventually cause Gharam's neck to be permanently stuck in one position if it were not removed. 

Gharam would cover her neck

During our first meeting with Gharam, her mother said that every time they had guests, Gharam would run and change into clothes that would cover up her neck, no matter how hot it was. 

Now post surgery, Gharam has regained mobility of her neck.  Dr. Abu-Sittah has also removed scarring on her arm. 

We're working on helping Gharam attend school. Despite the surgery, Gharam's mother still worries for her daughter's future. She wonders what prospects Gharam will have in a society where women with scars and injuries are viewed as flawed, and often stigmatized. We are currently working on getting Gharam and her parents the psychological support they need. 

All Gharam wants is to be a normal girl who can wear nice clothes without having to hide her burn scars in her arm and neck. "I love fashion," says the now more cheerful ten-year-old, "I can't wait until I'm old enough to be able to wear makeup!" 

Update (December 12, 2016)

After the surgery on her neck, Gharam has now found the confidence to go back to school. She is learning English and knows how to say lots of animals - including fish, dog and cat. 

We will be providing Gharam with a scar-revision surgery on her left arm - because it is restricting her full movement. This will be performed before the New Year and improve Gharam's mobility greatly.