Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meet Our New Best Friend

This is Dr. Khazanchi, the plastic surgeon who examined Meher and who is going to help us make all the arrangements for her surgeries. He is the head of the Plastic Surgery Department at a major Delhi hospital and has been incredibly kind and helpful even though his work schedule is extremely busy and demanding. He is in touch with our fund-raising team in the U.S. and is doing his utmost to help us along. After getting in touch with him, everything has become much easier as it is often difficult to make arrangements in Delhi hospitals unless you have an employee or someone from the organization helping you. We had been trying to contact different hospitals, but no one was showing the slightest interest or even answering our calls, so finding and getting in touch with Dr. Khazanchi was really amazing. He is a family friend and we are very fortunate to have him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our First Doctor's Visit

On Friday evening, we took Meher to see Dr. K, a plastic surgeon (and our new best friend!). He very kindly invited us into his home as he had been called away from his office and had canceled his normal consulting hours for the day. Meher came from her home in an auto-rickshaw accompanied by her mother, the head of the Women's Centre, and a teacher from the centre. I met the group at Dr. K's house and was amazed to see Meher looking nervous. The long ride and journey to an unfamiliar place was frightening for her as she is only three years old. Inside the doctor's house, she bravely tried not to cry when confronted with an unknown adult who wanted to touch and examine her face and hands. It was the first time I had ever seen Meher even slightly out of her element, and we assured the doctor that this would not last long. And we were right- she adjusted and brightened up before we left and wanted to explore her new surroundings.
Dr. K examined Meher and told us that a lot can be done. He wants to start by opening and re-structuring her hands (her left hand is badly deformed and two fingers on her right hand do not stretch out completely) and repairing her scalp and hairline. We hope to start making arrangements for the first operation next month. After that, Meher might still need as many as ten operations to fully repair her face, which is a lot for anyone, but especially too many for a three year old! But we will begin with fixing her hands and hairline, which will make an immediate and huge difference for her, and then go from there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fund-raising Details

I've already received lots of questions about where/how to donate and our total fund-raising goal, so thank you to everyone for your interest and support!

The best way to donate is to write a check directly to "Chess Without Borders- Meher" as Chess Without Borders is a nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Checks should be mailed to:
Chess Without Borders- Meher
5 Sara Lane
Barrington Hills, IL

You can also donate directly through Paypal here:

Thank you!

For reference, the Chess Without Borders website is here:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is Meher. She is three years old and lives in Khader, New Delhi, India (near the outskirts of the city). When she was eight or nine months old, the mosquito net over her bed caught on fire. Miraculously, she survived the terrible burns, but the experience left her face and scalp badly scarred and her left hand permanently closed and deformed.
Meher's father is a daily wage laborer. Her family cannot afford to seek additional treatment for her, although they are very concerned about her future prospects in Indian society. Meher is extremely bright, verbal, and social. She has
picked up a little English from spending time around the Women's Centre and interacts confidently with visitors. She is also very naughty and is always up to something!
I first met Meher when I went to the Women's Centre to find out about working with the teachers there to improve English instruction. Since then, I have been working with the teachers there three times a week and Meher always comes to greet me and oversee my English class.
We are hoping to raise enough money to cover the cost of reconstructive plastic surgery on her hand and her face, which would have to include staying in the hospital, multiple operations, medicine, physical therapy, and much more. We would also like to extend the fund to raise money for her education as she is very intelligent and has very limited opportunities in her present situation. Many people are already working hard to fundraise for her, and this blog will provide updates on our progress.