Indian Journal of Burns

: 2014  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 112--113

Social Initiative: Networking with social and nongovernment organizations for rehabilitating burn survivors and burn prevention in community

Shobha Chamania 
 Department of General Surgery, Choitram Hospital and Research Center, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Shobha Chamania
Department of General Surgery, Choitram Hospital and Research Center, Indore - 452 014, Madhya Pradesh

How to cite this article:
Chamania S. Social Initiative: Networking with social and nongovernment organizations for rehabilitating burn survivors and burn prevention in community.Indian J Burns 2014;22:112-113

How to cite this URL:
Chamania S. Social Initiative: Networking with social and nongovernment organizations for rehabilitating burn survivors and burn prevention in community. Indian J Burns [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Jun 24 ];22:112-113
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Full Text


We all know that burns are a challenge for the less-privileged class of our society, especially women and children. These women are that subset of the population who have not gone to school beyond middle school, who have been brought up in a family with a similar or illiterate background, with complete ignorance about their safety and no knowledge of proper first aid. This is then compounded with an early marriage in a similar family. Using kerosene as a fuel for cooking and illumination is the norm in these families. The family members are not equipped with coping skills for managing day-to-day challenges in general. They are also bound by several societal norms. This forms the background of our patients who have sustained burns and have survived it. They face a dilemma of returning to the same environment that may be dreadful and violent or stand on their own feet and start their lives. The second option is not easy for them because they have very little if any family support, they may have children to take care of and to add to it they do not have the skill to do a job. If they have burn scars on their exposed part of body, being hired is not easy. This is the fact file of our burn survivors.

So what can we do as a burn care team? Do we have any responsibility toward helping them settle down in their lives once again as happy and independent individuals who can also become useful citizens? The answer is yes.

Our rehabilitation team has coordinated with social organizations like the Lions Club and the Rotaries. These groups have been invited to attend survivor group meetings, which allows them to have a peek into the world of a burn survivor [Figure 1]. This has helped increase empathy, and they have been very generous in their support. We have received funds for prevention activities in the aanganwadis of the under-privileged community. We have received help in other ways too. They have come forward to provide limb prosthesis to the survivors of electrical injuries. Some accomplished beauticians have volunteered to teach them camouflage make-up to help them regain their self-image and esteem.{Figure 1}

Since the last couple of years, we have worked in a community near our hospital, called Ekta Nagar. Our objective has been to educate the residents on burn prevention and safe practices of cooking and handling the flammable liquids at home. Our focus has also been to make the homes a safer place for small kids [Figure 1]. In the past, we have offered them a physical, transparent barrier between the kitchen and the other room; if they have two rooms. They used this initially but soon rejected it. We tried several times to encourage them to use it, but in vain.

Then we asked them to construct their own barrier as they feel is right for their family [Figure 2]. We gave them encouragement allowance to continue to do this effort, but again this was in vain. We then realized that the safety of their children was not the uppermost priority in their lives.{Figure 2}

Our next idea was to remove the kids from home while the cooking was being done, ensuring their safety. So after discussion with them, the children were to go for one hour of class in the morning from 9-10 am in the aanganwadi in their neighborhood. The families were happy to send the kids there. A school teacher with past experience was hired for this one hour and she focused on value education, play therapy, art therapy, song and dance, and some fun time along with learning something useful and new. Her salary was funded by the International Rotary.

At the end of one year, she reported that she was conducting classes regularly. Following skills were imparted to the children coming there: Hand-washing before meals with improved personal hygiene, use of less abusive language during interactions among themselves, less fighting and learning to share, and learning good behavior. They have also learnt some poems, counting numbers, and alphabet, are able to recognize fruits, birds, animals and trees, and are showing interest in various activities. These are the added achievements of spending one hour outside home for their safety.

We are indeed very grateful to the Rotary International group for their continued participation in this program, to Mrs. Kirti Chouhan for her untiring efforts at the aanganwadi to help the less privileged children, and to Lions Club members for their generous support for rehabilitating the amputees following high tension line electrical burns. I must acknowledge the voluntary contribution by all the team members of the burn unit of Choithram hospital Indore in making this project a reality and Interburns for all the visiting fellows to add the colour to it.

To quote Owen Arthur, Let us go forward in this battle fortified by conviction that those who labor in the service of a good cause will never fail.


I wish to acknowledge the sincere contributions of Interburns, Rotary International, Germany, Rotary club of Indore, India, rehab team of Choithram hospital Indore and the teachers at the aanganwadi for us to do this work.