Fatuma’s Story

Case Study

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
July 2015
Interviewed by: Maddie Johnston

When Fatuma was six, her grandmother was using a candle to guide her at night when petrol inside the house caught fire. Fatuma was born with a hearing impairment, so could not hear the commotion that followed and suffered extensive burns. Fatuma received treatment in a government hospital for two months, but doctors told her family that they could not provide the level of treatment that she needed. They then advised them to take her to CCBRT.

The scarring from Fatuma’s burns prevents her from extending her arms or bending her fingers. Fatuma underwent two rounds of surgeries at CCBRT in order to restore her mobility. Mama Fatuma shared that “before the first surgery, I was very nervous. When she was first burned, we stayed at the hospital for a long time, but they weren’t able to give her the care she needed. After Fatuma’s first surgery [at CCBRT], when I saw that she could bend her elbow again, I knew that CCBRT would be able to help her.” Fatuma is still healing from her surgeries, but she can now fully extend both arms and has more mobility in her fingers.

Mama Fatuma is now much less worried about Fatuma’s future. “When she is healed, I am hoping that Fatuma will be able to be wash herself, feed herself and be more independent. I would like to send her to a school that can support deaf children. Because she cannot speak, it will be important for her to write so I am happy that she will be able to do this now.”

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