Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak spends £50,000 of his own money operating on seven women in January mercy mission.
In partnership with The Depilex Smile Again Foundation
At Crown Clinic, we are very proud to work with the wonderful charity Smile Again which provides care and treatment for the victims of horrific acid attacks in Pakistan.
Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak is spending £50,000 of his own money operating on seven women who are all badly disfigured – often for doing nothing more than spurning a man’s advances. Our work with the charity has already received substantial coverage in the media - on ITV's Granada Reports and in the Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News.
Earlier this year, Dr Shahmalak visited his home city of Karachi where he met women he can help with hair, eyebrow and eyelash transplants. In January, he will be accompanied by a TV crew when he takes a team from the Crown Clinic to operate on these brave women.
The three women you see in these pictures are among the seven he will help. They include:
- A 24-year-old woman who worked at a beauty salon and had acid thrown over her by a man who had been stalking her after she turned down his proposal;
- A 19-year-old woman who was horrifically scarred by accident when playing with some other girls;
- And a 23-year-old woman - also attacked when she spurned a man's proposal. ul>
Dr Shahmalak is one of only nine surgeons in the world qualified to do the kind of intricate eyelash and eyebrow transplants some of the women need.
He said: "It was heart-breaking meeting these women - their lives have been wrecked.
"They are not accepted by society because of their disfigurement.
"They cannot get jobs and, in some cases, they have been disowned by their families and they are left to beg on the streets.
"They are too frightened of reprisals to tell the police who has attacked them - and even if they did, they have no faith that the culprits will be brought to justice."
Dr Shahmalak saw many acid attack victims on his trip to Pakistan earlier this year - many whom he could not help.
One such case was a six-year-old child girl - doused with acid by her father for refusing to go to school. She was too young for treatment.
"I saw two children when I was there," he said. "But I imagine there are lots more child victims.
"It is difficult to describe in words what these people have been put through. I could not sleep on my way home because I was so upset by what I saw."
Dr Shahmalak is looking forward to the trip in January.
"I will be spending three days there operating on these women," he said. "I will be with my team but we will be training local medics so that there is a continuity of care when we are gone."
Dr Shahmalak was born in Karachi and trained as a doctor there before coming to the UK. He worked as a surgeon in the NHS before setting up his own hair transplant clinic.
He is renowned throughout the world, and performed the first eyelash transplant in the UK in 2009.
One of the acid attack victims he is helping is a beautician who was attacked when she was just 13 for spurning a man's advances when she was on her way to work on a bus. She said: "He asked me to marry him. When I said no, he grabbed my hair and threw acid in my face. It was so painful. I want my attacker to experience the pain I felt. Prison would not be enough for him."
The beautician is set to marry her fiancee once she has had surgery from Dr Shahmalak. Masarrat Misbah from Smile Again said: "When the patients heard that Dr Shahmalak was coming over they were shouting and screaming with joy.
"He is funding all this from his own pocket. We cannot thank him enough."
Dr Shahmalak added: “It is good to be able to do something for the people where I grew up. They will get no help from the Government.”