Refugee girl with a dream in Malaysia needs urgent heart op

Refugee girl with a dream in Malaysia needs urgent heart op
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR - She was born with a hole in her heart with a ca­taract clouding her vision on the right eye.

Yet, Udiah, who was born in Pakistan, has big dreams.

"I want to be a teacher," said the shy five-year-old during an interview with her father Kurram Shahzad Kaleem, 38, and mother Sadia, 35, here.

Her first hole in the heart closed naturally, but the girl is facing yet another hurdle in life.

There is a second hole in her heart which can only be fixed through an operation, something her family could not afford.

Her family moved to Malaysia in 2004 to seek a better life.

Kurram, who works as a salesman at a computer shop in Imbi Plaza here, said he earned about RM1,500 but the latest operation costs were "frustrating".

"My wife works as a voluntary teacher at an association that tea­ches refugee children," he said.

They also have a nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.

Speaking of his life back in Pa­­kistan, he said: "We were surrounded by ­terrorists. So I decided to bring my family to Malaysia.

"We have been living here as refugees since 2004."

Kurram said he needed financial help this time as the doctors estimated that Udiah's surgery would cost about RM50,000.

National Heart Institute (IJN) Foundation manager Ritzzawati Rosli Mohd Rosli said doctors hoped to rectify Udiah's heart soon.

"If the hole is not fixed, Udiah will end up with a weak heart, stunted growth and face difficulty doing any kind of activity."

"IJN Foundation wants to help, but our funds are limited, and they are meant for Malaysians."

She said those wishing to help could contact the IJN Foundation at 03-2617 8312 or 03-2617 8357.

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