A young burns victim can finally sleep with her eyes closed after a charity arranged for her to have major surgery – to give her EYELIDS.
Perlucia Mathebula, seven, had skin graft to rebuild her eyelids at a British hospital so she can finally blink for the first time in six years.
The little girl was just six months old when she was horrifically burned while being looked after by her toddler sister in her home-town near Witbank near South Africa.
Bronwen Jones, her legal guardian and founder of London and Johannesburg-based charity Children of Fire, praised surgeons for saving her eyesight.
She said: “Her mother was out and they left her in the care of a toddler.
“We can only guess that a stove or a candle was knocked over and the house was set alight.”
“She couldn’t close her eyes so it was impairing her eyesight. By making eyelids now she can close her eyes when she sleeps.”
The operation at the McIndoe Surgical Centre, in East Grinstead, West Sussex, on Monday last week, will stop the little girl’s eyesight being ruined by dryness.
Perlucia is to return to South Africa in November and will spend Christmas with her family.
But Bronwen hopes she will return to the UK next year so she can have further plastic surgery to her hands, which were also damaged in the blaze, leaving her fingers fused together.
Bronwen, of Pinner, north west London, said: “She also wants her fire-fused fingers to be separated so that she can do up her own buttons.
“Thanks to the surgeons at the McIndoe Surgical Centre her dreams are coming closer to being a reality.”
Bronwen, 58, has one biological son and has cared for hundreds of children through the charity she set up 20 years ago.
The charity helps children affected by fire, which is sadly common in South Africa due to the use of highly-flammable substances to light and heat homes.