Heldi Jaralomi has spent the past 12 years hiding away, never leaving her home in West Timor, after she was horrifically burnt by an exploding oil lamp.
But a two-month trip to Perth, during which time she has undergone risky marathon surgery, has transformed the woman’s appearance and her life.
Ms Jaralomi suffered burns to 25 per cent of her body, with the worst complication of her lower lip scarred onto her chest making it difficult for her to talk and eat.
The 24-year-old shed tears as she told her story through an interpreter, how her injuries had ruined her life before she discovered the generosity of others who would bring her to Perth.
“I was really surprised and really scared because it’s such a big operation. I’d never really left my village before. It’s been very overwhelming,” Ms Jaralomi said.
She said she didn’t really leave her house for 12 years, stopped guests coming over and dropped out of school.
“I just want to be like a normal person. I really want to go back to school and get my middle school and high school certificate,” Ms Jaralomi, who flew back to West Timor on Saturday, said.
“I’m going to make sure I don’t hide anymore.”