Children's homes: The Children 

Before and Now: Monicka 


Indienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - Monicka

Monicka, today 12 years old, grew up as a street child on the Dasaswamedh Ghats’ dump. Her seven siblings, six of them grow up in our children’s home, were victims of the daily abuse from their alcohol addicted father. Their mother, Indu Devi, tried to earn some money through selling flowers.

Indienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - MonickaIndienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - MonickaIndienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - Monicka

When Monicka was 3 years old, a typical destiny of a begger child happened to her: the intentional disfigurement of her body, to beg better and more pitiful. Her father, drunken as always, held her hand violently into a cooking pot of boiling oil. The little Monicka received heavy burnings, which let to the crippledness of her hand, because she couldn’t move her index finger and middle finger anymore and all fingers deformed to one clawhand. She always could use her right hand just restricted…

So she suffered not only from her handicap but also from the stigma to be maybe leprous because her deformed hand looked – from outside – like the one from a leprous. When she will be a grown up, her possibilities to find a qualified job or a husband are very low with this deformation.

Indienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - MonickaIndienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - Monicka

In the year 2010 Monickas dream came true:

In the last two years we collected information about hand restoration surgery and tried to find a clinic in India. At the same time, we made X-ray pictures of her hand and showed them to German surgeons and let them discuss which would be the best therapy and the best operation-method because we wanted her fingers and the moves of her hand to work again.

Luckily, the quality of the medical offers in Benares increased in the last 2-3 years. The Apollo-clinic, a chain of very modern clinics in India, settled down and now there is a basic medical supply on a high level, which offers great and until today not known perspectives of therapies to our children.

Monickas doctor, Dr. Sudir Singh, is an international experienced plastic surgeon, who works as a microvascular surgeon and hand specialist in America, Australia, Europe and now in Benares, and has specialized on burnings. After the preliminary talk we compared his suggested medical treatment with the recommendations from the German specialists and surgeons, which confirmed Dr. Singhs operation method.

Monickas anticipation of the operation can’t be described with words. From the first until the last hour before the operation, she was smiling. Proudly she told the other children in our children’s home every detail which she heard from Dr. Singh.

Even on the morning before the operation she was still grining, made small jokes and it seemed like she couldn’t wait. Well, at least until the moment as the nurse had to put Monicka on the drip and she saw the big injection needle. All her excitement turned into huge tears. Our Girls home leader, Kumudini, could take her fear away with lovely words and some caress and after a little time, Monicka left for the operation.

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The operation went for the pleasure of the surgeons. Our project manager was allowed to stay during the operation. In the more than two hours long operation Dr Singh made the following steps:

Index and middle finger have been sliced, after that opened and adhered cartilage has been removed. Because of the cut and the opening, the skin gained some open parts, which have been closed with the help of skin transplantation from the femoral. To stabilize the wound, a metal wire was implanted into the middle finger which helds it in an exactly defined ankle to a hand-shaped metal bar. After the operation the hand was bandaged to this metal bar, which gave Monicka the next months the nickname Tigerclaw.

Indienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - MonickaIndienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - Monicka

After a few hours, Monicka woke up from her narcoses and could leave the ICU. In the sick room, her siblings Poonam (17), Meera (16) and the fifteen-year old Raju were already waiting with her mother. At least in the first hours the pain killers were helping and the smile returned back into Monickas face.

For safety reasons and for patient care (meal and medicince), a close relative usually accompanies the patient during the whole stay in hospital. That’s why on the evening before the operation we asked Monickas (meanwhile widowed) mother to look for her daughter in the hospital. She did not leave her, day and night.

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The news of the succesfull operation spread like wildfire in the children’s home and was the topic the next days. Monickas siblings and closest friends from the children’s home were so exited to visit her as often as possible, before and after the school, in the break times, between the private lessons etc.

A little too much visitors, as the wardens felt like; with the increasing numbers of visitors also the volume in the hospital increased. The children told themselves the newest stories from the school and the children’s home, the elder children were reading stories to her and played games. Also every day they brought her favourite meal from the children’s home: “Chips Masala” (hot spicy chips). The children did everything to shorten the time until Monicka could leave the hospital again.

Already after five days and the first important checkups, Monicka could leave the Apollo-clinic. In the children’s home she came immediately to our nurse Vinita, who made the regular changing of the bandages and gave Monicka a lot of love. The next four weeks Monicka did not go to school, to avoid infections and complications during the healing. After one month, the physiotherapy began to reactivate and keep active the muscle reflex of the fingers, because she did not move her fingers for almost 10 years. She is doing steady proceedings and is so glad to use her right hand now.

Indienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - MonickaIndienprojekte - Kinderheime - Kinder - Monicka