It was a beautiful sight to behold: 22 children who were also burn patients participating for the second time in a football match – this time between Pyramids and Zamalek.
The participation is part of the events organised on the sidelines of the Egyptian Premier League at the 30 June stadium to complement the psychological and community rehabilitation programs carried out by the Ahl Masr Foundation in collaboration with members of the football scene in Egypt.
A standing ovation awaited the 22 children with burn injuries as they entered with the players of the two teams before the start of the match.
Speaking to Ahram Online, Dr. Heba El-Sewedy, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ahl Masr Foundation and Hospital for Burns Treatment, shed light on the alarming statistics in the country.
El-Sewedy said that in Egypt "there are 250,000 cases of burns every year, 37 percent of whom die in the first six hours after the incident if they are not given proper treatment."
The annual number of those dying of burns in Egypt, she said, amounts to 180,000 (almost 60 percent of the total number of burn victims).
“Unfortunately, 50 percent of victims are children, 18 percent end up with a form of handicap, and 99 percent of kids suffering burns are deprived of being educated at schools," she told Ahram Online.
Of the children's participation in the match, El-Sewedy noted that this was the second time children who are burn patients participate in a football match in the Egyptian Premier League, adding that the participation “reflects stakeholders' care and efforts to provide burn patients with a joyful, decent life, giving them the opportunity to participate in all activities, including sporting events, to discover their talents and unlock their potential, and to work on consolidating the idea of accepting their presence openly in the society without fear or stigma.”