Dehradun, India -- Sheila Wolfson, Interplast Coordinator
After a long day of surgery, our hosts took our team to visit “Cheshire Homes,” a residential facility in Dehradun that cares for the permanently disabled in the community. This home was one of several founded by Lord Leonard Cheshire, Britain’s ace bomber pilot in the Second World War. After noting the devastation of war, he decided to devote his life to establishing homes for the upkeep and care of people with disabilities who had no place to live and no one to look after them.
The home we visited was home to 50 people. It was immaculate and organized. The impeccable hygiene of the residents and lack of odor in the home stood out to us all. The team was treated to tea and snacks and a dance performance by two of the residents, one being Kamala, a teenage girl who had been operated on by the Interplast team the previous year. Her story was dramatic and moving, as Kamala had been attacked by a leopard on her way home from school. As a result, she lost her leg and her face and eye were badly mauled.
After this devastating accident, Kamala left her village to go through her rehabilitation at the Cheshire Home. It was there that she learned to use her new prosthesis. She eventually returned to her home, but less than two weeks after her return, Kamala asked to go back to the Cheshire Home to live, as she felt she received better care and had more opportunities there. She is a lovely girl and now attends high school in the area. She amazed us all with her grace and agility during her dance performance, prosthesis and all. Above, are photos of Kamala before her surgery last year and in her dance attire a year later.