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Burn victim beats the odds to graduate at UWC

Aniek Nieuwenhuis, aged 24, sustained third-degree burns to 95% of her body and is using her story to inspire other students facing hardships.

Aniek Nieuwenhuis. Picture: Michael Hammond

CAPE TOWN - A student who had sustained third-degree burns to 95% of her body is using her story to inspire other students facing hardships.

Aniek Nieuwenhuis, aged 24, defied the odds when she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts at UCT on Wednesday evening.

She was badly burned in an accident at the age of nine. The incident occurred during a gas leak during a family holiday.

Nieuwenhuis spoke to Eyewitness News and encouraged people to believe in themselves.

“I had like 20% chance of living. I think beating the odds is crazy. Just trust yourself, don’t compare yourself to anyone else and give it your all.”

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 180,000 deaths every year are caused by burns, with the vast majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries. In 2004, nearly 11 million people worldwide were burned severely enough to require medical attention.

WHO is promoting interventions that have been shown to be successful in reducing the incidence of burns.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)