How we help
It is hard to look at the face of a woman who has been attacked with acid and imagine how she will live an independent and fulfilling life. Yet despite indescribable pain, disfigurement and psychological trauma, many survivors can and will rebuild their lives when provided with the support they need.
ASTI founded and supported the development of partner organisations dedicated to combating acid attacks at the local and national level in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Uganda and India providing vital financial and technical support while building local medical capacity through teams of expert volunteers. We supported our partners through a volunteer network of volunteer plastic surgeons, burns and physical therapists, nurses and counsellors, who trained local medical and psycho-social practitioners to provide victims with the specialist care they require.
ASTI has also worked at the international level to raise the profile of acid attacks with UN bodies and other key international actors. Crucially, more research is needed to better understand acid violence as an international phenomenon and identify every country in which acid attacks are occurring in significant numbers.
Between 2013 and 2015 ASTI also worked in partnership with local partners Burns Violence Survivors Nepal and Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan in the delivery of a British Government funded project to help end acid violence and support survivors. The key achievements of the project include:
- 152 survivors benefiting from medical and psycho-social support services – awareness and sensitization on the causes and consequences of acid violence, acid crime legislation, police procedures and immediate response to acid attack to 513 community leaders – 151 survivors benefit from legal support – 54 survivors access professional skills training and financial support – 6,360 community members reached through campaign materials or street theatre – in Pakistan two successful radio campaigns reaching 4,400,000 people across the target regions spreading awareness on acid violence and on how to respond to an acid attack.
In addition, at the invitation of the Colombian Government ASTI’s executive director was approached to provide expertise and assistance on tackling acid violence. Therefore, in 2014 and 2015 Jaf Shah met with survivor groups, government ministers, women’s secretariat and participated in an international conference and seminars centred on addressing acid violence. In January 2016 Colombia’s President signed a law that imposes tougher sentences on the perpetrators of acid attacks. Anyone convicted of such crimes will now serve between 12 and 50 years in jail.
Former ASTI trustee Dr Ron Hiles OBE, has personally performed over one thousand reconstructive surgery operations and trained hundreds of surgeons who in turn have treated thousands of patients. In addition ASTI through its local in-country partners and funders such as Islamic Help, Department for International Development has treated over 150 survivors through surgery, livelihood support, rehabilitation and legal support.