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Julie: The Burnt Childhood

Julie, a young girl who should have been living her life freely, building memories with her friends, and goofing around the house is now spending her life away from home, recovering from a trauma caused by her own father. Julie faced an acid attack, which changed her life forever. With a disfigured face, and never ending medical treatment, Julie is trying to build a better future for herself.

Julie, a 12-year-old girl, who was born in a small village in Meerut, has overcome struggles and battles that are impossible to imagine for most kids her age. After the acid attack incident back when Julie was four years old, it was pretty hard for her daily wage earning parents to take care of their daughter. Seeing this, the Chhanv Foundation took on the responsibility for the treatment costs and care for Julie. The foundation has paid for Julie’s medical bills alongside additional expenses for her care but the lockdown did present financial concerns; the foundation worked to overcome these struggles with the help of fundraisers and virtual events.

Julie was newly adjusting to a family away from home but very quickly the coronavirus attacked the nation and brought up many difficulties for her once again. One of the biggest challenges Julie faced due to restrictions put forth by the lockdown was the inability for her to attend routine check-ups vital for her health. 

Julie’s mother specifically expressed her concerns,

“One of her previous operations was not as successful as we were expecting it to be, and because of that Julie has to go under the knife once again. The lockdown and restricted entry in hospitals are, however, one big barrier in our way for that.”

 These challenges Julie faced put her life at stake. Like Julie,  many acid attack survivors as well as those with disabilities in India were not provided with appropriate support from the government and this absence of adequate assistance could have meant the difference between life and death. While for some kids this recent lockdown felt like a summer holiday, for Julie this time was scheduled for deciding on the treatments she would receive and how she would receive them. At this age when kids are ordinarily scared of injections and minor cuts, she is undergoing surgeries and taking medications.

She’s a cheerful girl despite the circumstances and is currently staying with Mr. Alok Dixit, founder of Chhanv Foundation, who is taking good care of her alongside his daughter. Mr. Alok is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that Julie is getting the proper care for her injury and is also taking charge of her studies. Julie’s parents are extremely grateful that Julie is receiving treatment and assistance so that she can live a life of the best quality possible. Julie’s mother expressed great gratitude as she shared, “I am happy that Julie is away from home, she is safe I know this. They [the Chhanv Foundation] are taking care of her education and medicines both. We are unable to provide for her.” 

However, one additional difficulty Julie faces is that she is immunocompromised. This makes her more susceptible to many things such as the coronavirus. Julie has been taking medication to avoid pain and strengthen her immunity. This requires much caution to be taken on her part. 

Due to the lockdown, Julie’s academics are also suffering. Due to having to receive numerous treatments and challenges that resulted from the acid attack, she was not able to attend school since a very young age.  She hasn’t been able to experience learning the same way others her age have. 

However, Julie still holds a smile that can change your day from gloomy to happy in a moment! She’s just waiting for Lockdown to be over so that she can finally feel warmth of her mother’s embrace. She is waiting for the lockdown restrictions to be lifted so that she can get relief from her pain and live her life playing freely. 


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About the author

Shreya Pareek