Helping 500 women burn survivors in India rebuild their lives
In April 2013, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Sunshine Foundation launched a capacity building cooperation project in India. Over a three-year period, Sunshine has provided technical support to International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), a Chennai-based NGO working in the field of victim care and prevention of gender violence, for the establishment of a Recovery and Healing Center for women burn survivors.
Between November 23 and December 9 2015, the CEO of Sunshine Ms. Ching-Hsien SHU and a team of specialists from the foundation carried out a site visit in Chennai to assess the impact of the project, as well as organize a graduation ceremony to recognize the efforts of the PCVC staff over the last three years. Indeed, PCVC’s Recovery and Healing Center is one of a kind by offering to over 500 women burn survivors in and around Chennai access to comprehensive physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services following hospital discharge.
The staff of PCVC, who are all women themselves, had to face many challenges to achieve this impact. They work with women burn survivors who mostly come from a complex disadvantaged socio-economic background, and the staff must deal on a daily basis with a variety of problems and issues: reaching clients in remote areas, gaps between rural and urban environment, lack of medical resources, clients’ recurring medical or financial problems, etc. But the biggest challenge comes from how society traditionally undervalues women and girls, how domestic violence against women is seen as a given, and how women burn survivors have internalized this, thus affecting their ability and willingness to seek help. PCVC is not only healing burn wounds, it is also helping women burn survivors see their self-worth.
With the technical support of Sunshine, PCVC has put in place a comprehensive service system to help women burn survivors have access to individualized physical rehabilitation, wound care, psychological counseling and social reintegration services. In the process, PCVC staff helps these women rebuild confidence and empower them to face their future. The award ceremony aimed to recognize the role of the women working at PCVC as leaders, caregivers, healers, nurturers, trailblazers and role-models.
The CEO and founder of PCVC Dr. Prasanna Gettu explained that although the three-year project has ended, she hopes the partnership with Sunshine will continue in order to further strengthen and expand the Center’s services. The CEO of Sunshine Ms. Ching-Hsien SHU has said that within a short three-year period, the Center has become a place where women burn survivors can concentrate on regaining their health and rebuilding their lives, all while progressively reintegrating the community. Sunshine is looking forward to continue working with the PCVC team by sharing experience in building community-based burn rehabilitation services.