Thirteen-year-old Rajeshwari comes from Yaradona, in Karnataka state, south India. It is sleepy rural village where life is largely uneventful and governed by the seasons and the monsoon rains.

When she was just six months old, Rajeshwari contracted an ear infection which antibiotics could have cured. But left untreated, her jaw locked up and since then she has not been able to eat solid foods or to open her mouth properly to talk. As a result she is malnourished, weighs only 20kgs and her face has grown abnormally.

Rajeshwari suffers from depression. She has already suffered social stigma at school and refuses to attend family functions so as to avoid embarrassment.

Her family is concerned that with her facial deformity they will be unable to get her married - something that is almost unthinkable in conservative rural Indian society.

Rajeshwari's disability makes her chances of a good life even worse than most.

Her father is a manual labourer who earns $2 a day, when he can find work, and her mother earns a small amount by doing laundry for the other villagers. With six mouths to feed there is simply no spare cash - even to find out if an operation is possible and, if so, where it might be done.

Through luck, however, Rajeshwari's father heard about the Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital and after borrowing money for the bus fare took his beloved daughter to Bangalore to seek treatment.

For Rajeshwari this is her one and only shot at attaining a normal life.

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Source: Al Jazeera