By Taniya Dutta
A six-year-old Indian girl is scared of going to school because of the relentless taunts by bullies who call her the ‘frog’ girl.
Soyanika Amafa has abnormally big eyes and a huge forehead.
The little girl suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Crouzon Syndrome- a condition where bones fuse in skull permanently.
While Soyanika could have been treated on time, the measly income of her parents forced her condition left untreated resulting in gradual yet obtrusive growth of her eyes.
But the little girl, who loves to dress up, now desperately wants to get medical help so she can have ‘normal’ facial features and live a happy life like her peers in school.
“I go to school but the students in my class tease me, they call me frog and say I have big eyes.
“No one plays with me. I have no friends.
“I want to live like a normal child, have friends and play with them.
Soyanika was born with bigger forehead and bulging eyes to Tarjan Bordoloi, 32, and Bhanupator Bordoloi, 29, both daily wage labours from a nondescript village in Assam in northeast India.
The father says: “When she was born she had big skull and big eyes but the eyes started growing gradually and by the time she turned three, her eyes looked as if they were almost out of the socket and her skull had grown very big.
While the poor couple that makes just £2-£5 a day-enough to arrange three-time meals for the day, had taken their only child to several local doctors.
However, they had to make peace with Soyanika’s condition after a doctor told them a surgery can treat her but she would required to be taken to a bigger hospital.
“We took her to local doctors who said she can be treated with an operation but for that we would need to take her out of Assam.
“We are daily wage labours and make enough to eat for the day. Taking her out of the village would have cost a lot and we did not have money to foot the bills. We could not even imagine stepping out of the village as we had no money to even take the bus to the city.
“With a heavy heart we decided to stop taking her to doctors and let her live on God’s will.
“People had stopped visiting us as they were scared of her. But we still get her enrolled to a government-run school. We wanted her to face the real world, ” Tarjan lamented.
Now with Soyanika quickly growing and conscious of her looks, the poor child makes constant requests to her dad to make her ‘beautiful’.
Her father said: “She says that she does not like to look into the mirror. Children at her school call her a frog. The way she is treated devastate us. No child should face such bullies or subjected to mean taunts for the way they look.
“She is a lovely child, always smiling. But it is the pressure from other children that upset her.
“But what can we do? We are helpless. We have no money or resources to take her to bigger hospitals for a surgery. We hope that people see her pain and come forward for help. We would be grateful if we get donation to pay for her operation.”
Crouzon Syndrome occurs when an infant’s skull and facial bones, while in development, fuse early or are unable to expand. Thus, normal bone growth cannot occur. Fusion of different sutures leads to different patterns of growth of the skull.
The diagnosis usually occur at birth and surgery is typically done to prevent the closure of sutures of the skull from damaging the brain’s development. Without surgery, blindness and mental retardation are typical outcomes.