- William Baartman was just three years old when his parents' home was petrol bombed
- He sustained burns across 75 percent of his body
- Although he struggled with confidence while growing up, he now inspires young survivors
Burn survivor William Baartman has dedicated his life to helping young burn survivors regain their self-confidence.
William was just three years old when his parents' home was petrol bombed during apartheid-related riots in 1976.
He sustained burns across 75 percent of his body in the resultant fire, Briefly.co.za learned. His sister also passed away in the fire.
The scars left on William's body caused him to lose his self-confidence. In addition, he was constantly bullied at school, forcing him to drop out of high school.
Fortunately, William was able to regain his confidence. Today, he uses his story to inspire children who have also suffered burns.
He works in partnership with the Avela Foundation, which provides assistance to organisations specialising in burn treatment. It also offers emotional support to survivors.
Speaking to Beautiful News, William said:
I go back to the hospital and I teach the children to be confident at all times, and that they can do anything. I want them to feel free while they’re still healing.
The brave survivor plans to climb Mt Everest this year to raise funds to launch Avela’s emotional support network. The funds will also help refurbish the burns unit at Kimberley Hospital.
Williams emphasises that burn survivors are still able-bodied human beings:
Lots of people believe that because I’m different, I’m unable to do anything and that my mind is also affected. This is not the case.
To young burn survivors, he said:
Don't give up. You can go anywhere you want to.
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