A two year-old girl was abandoned by her mother and father after being badly burned in a freak accident.

Elvina Kolevi was so badly scarred after the accident at her home in Papua, New Guinea in 2015 she could not move her neck.

The youngster was also unable to chew solid food.

And Kolevi lived in such poverty that she had never had a birthday party – or even realized what a birthday was.

The youngster, who is now six, was forced to live in an orphanage after her parents decided they could not cope with caring for her.

But Elvina has now been granted a lifeline after being spotted by a US missionary and flown to the Texas Medical Center in Houston for life-changing treatment.



Seventh Day Adventist missionary Cletus Dillman, who rescued the youngster, told KTRK: ‘You cannot ignore the pain.

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‘Especially in a place like Papua. It’s very remote. No doctors.’

After arriving at the Texas Medical Center in July, Elvina underwent two surgeries that have granted her motion in her neck, and started to rebuild her top lip.

Plastic surgeon Dr Edward Reece said: ‘Elvina is an angel. She is remarkably resilient.

‘After sustaining a fire injury to her neck, she was so scarred down that she couldn’t move her neck up at all.

‘Now, she can completely extend her neck which is fantastic! We were able to reconstruct some of her lip as well.’

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Resident Dr Faryan Jalalabadi explained that Elvina had been treated using a procedure called a free flap, which sees wounded skin reconstructed using a patient’s own tissue.

Elvina’s visa expired after six months, with the youngster now back in Papau, New Guinea while awaiting another US visa that will allow her to return to Texas for further treatment.

She has been given a school scholarship, and is now going to class just like any other child her age.

Volunteer Gabriela Nomura, from the House of Charity, hosted Elvina while she was in Texas, and says she can’t wait to have her back.



Nomura said: ‘We love her.

‘She’s completely changed my life. I understand what it is to have a sibling and I understand how privileged I am in life.’