GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) --They are innocent victims with burn scars that are horrific. The school fire they were trapped in took place a world away, but they may soon get a second chance at recovery right here in the Houston area.
It was a school day full of work and play. But the laughter faded on a December day in 2008, marking an end for 12 children in a small Iranian village and a new life of challenges for eight survivors
"They are lost souls," author and human rights activist Ghazal Omid said.
The story was told on Iranian state TV and explains a teacher had locked the door to the room just before a heater fell, starting a fatal classroom fire.
"The children could not open doors and the windows were also shut down," Omid said.
The lack of medical care in the country for the six girls and two boys caused further damage.
"Almost like stones instead of hands," Omid said.
Today, Nargess has no lips or nose. Reza has a face and body of a much older man.
Omid has made it her mission to get the children medical help .
Surgeons at Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston have met with her and will potentially accept them as patients.
"The best use of cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, is when you give some kind of normality to somebody's life," Omid said.
Yet she's still working on transportation and lodging.
"One of them says I'm going to one of our saints in Iran and ask him to make me normal again, give me back my face again," Omid said. "It breaks my heart every time I think about that."
Funding and fighting the clock, doctors face a biological deadline as tissues change around 18.
"Time is very critical," Omid said. "I believe every one of us is on this Earth for a reason and there's an angel in every one of us as they say."
And while nothing can bring back those innocent, smiling faces, there's hope help here could take away a lifetime of scars.
"It matters because we are here to make a difference," Omid said.
If you'd like to learn more about the children, there's a video posted on Facebook.