CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Z H Ndawng

Myanmar: Born without limbs, she scaled great heights with resolve

The task was challenging since fitting someone with even two prostheses can be tricky, and Ma Hla Aye had to get four! But through her courage and strength, she learned to use the four new limbs in just one month.
Article 18 March 2019 Myanmar

Ma Hla Aye is a wonder woman – not only has she conquered insurmountable odds, but she also makes one wonder about how somebody so gentle-looking can be a powerhouse of guts and gumption.

Suffering from tetra-amelia syndrome, 25-year-old Ma Hla Aye from Myitkyina was born without arms and legs. The disorder is extremely rare and can also affect other parts of the body. Despite living all her life with this extremely debilitating disability, Ma Hla Aye has never let the smiles leave her face. She had to give up on her education when her brothers started working and could no longer take her to school. Not willing to sit idle, Ma Hla Aye started a small tailoring business.

In May 2018, she arrived at the ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centre of the Ministry of Health and Sports in Myitkyina to be fitted with two lower prostheses and two cosmetic arms.

"Now I can do more by myself and go anywhere I want... just like everyone else. I can go to the market on my own and also help my mother in the kitchen. I don't even need to stand on a chair when I'm doing my tailoring work. These prosthetics really changed my life!" Ma Hla Aye joyfully adds.

Regis Tiffeneau, the orthotist-prosthetist who worked with Ma Hla Aye in her rehabilitation, says, "The way Ma Hla Aye has handled the physical therapy is incredible and impressive. She won our hearts with her grit and positivity."