Nine-year-old Zubaida found herself engulfed in flames when, after pouring kerosene into an indoor home cooking stove, the fuel exploded. Living in the Farah province of Afghanistan, there was no place nearby to seek medical treatment. Her father went to a local healer and was given ointments. As her condition worsened he decided to travel to Iran for treatment. In Iran, her father was given no hope of her survival. Zubaida’s father sought help from the U.S. Army in Kabul. There, Zubaida met with American military doctors, who decided to contact the U.S. State Department to see what could be done.
Zubaida sustained burns to her face, neck, chest and arms, which were so severe that her face and arms were fused to her chest. The Children’s Burn Foundation learning of Zubaida’s story through world- renowned reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Peter Grossman (who had been contacted by the State Department), provided the funds necessary to give Zubaida, not only the gift of life, but the gift of living. Zubaida underwent more than a dozen surgeries.
Today, 17-year-old Zubaida’s smile can light the darkest room. She dreams of one day becoming a doctor so that she can help others receive the same care and generosity that she experienced.