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Young foreign burn victims treated in Houston

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

They were left burned and disfigured in a place where caring for their wounds is considered, not a need but a luxury. That isn't stopping some Houston doctors from coming to their rescue. This is the story of eight little survivors who have come to Houston for healing.

"She's a survivor of a bomb blast in Afghanistan. She survived. Her whole village got killed," explains Hashmat Effendi the founder of The House of Charity in Southwest Houston. Effendi is talking about 5-year-old Shakira who was found burned by a trash bin in her village in Afghanistan, after everyone else there was killed in a barrage of bombings. It might be her scars you notice first but it doesn't take long for the "super cute" in Shakira to come shining through. "What is your favorite color?" she asks me. She tells me her favorite is red and she likes pink and purple too. Shakira is the talker of the group. All eight children are still working on their English as area doctors work to help heal their wounds.

"Zeeshan, he lost one of his arms," Effendi points out. Hashmat Effendi started The House of Charity more than fifteen years ago. She brings kids in need of healthcare from all over the world to Houston where gracious, good-hearted doctors donate their services. The kids aren't coming for cosmetic corrections. The children who are burned, for instance, get skin grafts to close wounds, exposed sores that would otherwise remain open and then blister and break open again. The kids would go through life with their skin infection prone and repeating that cycle.

"It's very emotional. I mean, people think that I sleep peacefully at night. If I sleep, I'm always thinking," Effendi explains. The big-hearted founder of this non-profit group is from Pakistan. She tarted the organization because she saw the need firsthand. Effendi knows how desperate the parents must be to turn their kids over to perfect strangers who are taking their little ones a world away, all the way to America for medical treatment. "The situation is so bad, the poverty is so severe these parents have no other option," explains Effendi.

Between the medical care the kids are getting a chance to enjoy Houston. The girls even got their ears pierced. "I love my earrings," smiles Shakira. 8-year-old Kinza can't stop showing off her flower earrings. "I love flowers," Kinza smiles. Back home in Pakistan she was kept in isolation because she was burned and disfigured by an open fire where her aunt was cooking. "As soon as she got burned her mother took her out of school," explains Effendi. The kids are very aware they look different. Even the outgoing little Shakira doesn't always want to go out. "She said because other children are scared when they look at me," Effendi says with sadness.

The kids have had several surgeries in the past few months since they've been here in Houston. The girl's favorite part of their new look? "My hair," smiles 13-year-old Kinza Nowaz. "My hair is coming and my face is looking different," explains 14-year-old Rizwana who was burned as an infant after a candle caught her bed on fire. The family had been using the flame for light because their home didn't have electricity.

After a short visit to America the children will take home a souvenir that will last a lifetime thanks to this little house of charity here on Houston's Southwest side. "This is my life. If I would stop doing this I don't think I can live," says Effendi

Effendi will bring five more kids here to Houston to receive care in June. There are 800 other children on her waiting list. Visit The House Of Charity at http://www.houseofcharity.com. The group is always accepting volunteers.

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