Zubaida Hasan – A Miracle Story
Zubaida was 9 years old. She was a member of a nomadic family that consisted of her two parents and eight other children. She and her family are from the Farah province of Afghanistan. In August of 2001, Zubaida was pouring kerosene into an indoor home cooking stove while it was hot. The fuel ignited and she caught on fire. She sustained burns to her face, neck, chest and arms. When the fire was extinguished, her father took her to a nearby medical provider where she was given ointments. As her condition worsened, her father decided to travel to Iran for treatment. She was admitted to a hospital in Iran for 20 days and then discharged. The doctors there suggested to her father to take her home to die. Zubaida did not die, but her injuries resulted in horrible disfigurement, severe functional impairment and a crippled self-esteem.
In February, 2002, on the recommendation of local shopkeepers, Zubaida’s father, Muhammad, sought help from the Americans for his severely burned daughter. She was taken to the American Army base in Kabul. There, Zubaida met with American military doctors and they decided to contact the U.S. State Department to see what could be done.
The State Department contacted Dr. Peter Grossman, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at The Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, California. With the aid of the Children’s Burn Foundation, a Southern California based charitable organization that lends financial and social assistance to burn-injured children who have no means of getting help any other way, Zubaida was brought to America for treatment at The Grossman Burn Center.
Zubaida, completed twelve major surgeries over a course of one year and within a short period of time, the transformation was astounding. She began school for the first time in her life at Round Meadow Elementary School in Calabasas, California and learned to speak English in 12 weeks. She attended psychotherapy and physical therapy, as well as, developed many wonderful friendships with her classmates at school.
She had her first slumber party on her 11th birthday, March 22nd, 2003. Zubaida says she would like to be a pediatric doctor and help rebuild her country when she grows up.
Virtually all who came in contact with her gravitated towards her, sorrowful over her tragedy, amazed by her courage, reveling in her transformation. So many people have come together to help this one little girl and give her something that she was almost robbed of . . . her childhood. Zubaida will always be scarred but when you meet her you realize how beautiful and vibrant she is. This triumph-over-tragedy story of one little girl’s unbreakable spirit and iron will, as well as the goodwill of mankind is truly inspirational.
Zubaida was recently reunited with her family in Afghanistan and will need support for future education, medical needs, and financial support as the family is extremely poor.