Field Apprenticeships

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

Update: The STF will be posting about the second organization, Youth Star, soon.  Due to lack of internet access and their remote location they were unable to post from the field, but they will be filling you in asap upon their return home.  In the meantime here is more about CASC and how rubber plantations play a role in access to acid in Cambodia.

While working with CASC one of our inquiries was into the relative availability and ease of obtaining acid. We were informed that one of the industries that requires acid – and therefore makes it readily available – is the processing and manufacturing of rubber.

Laborers on Their Rubber Plantation and a local Villager

Cambodia has a growing rubber industry with a stated goal of reaching production levels high enough to compete with other Asian countries such as Thailand, which is a main producer of natural rubber. While our team traveled to eastern Cambodia we passed endless rubber tree fields in varying stages: from saplings to mature trees all planted in neat razor-sharp rows.

Tapped Rubber Tree

We had a brief opportunity to meet and talk with a family who owned their own small plantation of rubber trees. Walking amongst the organized rows I saw for the first time in my life the birth of the rubber process. A spiral cut is made on the tree trunk and a bowl placed at the end of the cut to catch the white substance dripping out. That liquid is then collected into a larger container and mixed with formic acid and left to sit for 2-3 days to solidify before being sold to a rubber processing company. The left over pieces of rubber – looking much like balled up worms – is separated into strands and sold to a rubber-band processing company.

Separation of Rubber Pieces to Become Rubber Bands

The family had a 35 liter canister of formic acid, that functions as a coagulant with the rubber, on their property that was purchased for US$50. They expressed little concern over its potentially dangerous properties. CASC, however, has shared with us that there are higher incidents of acid burns around rubber plantations. While this was one family’s take on acid, it fits with the general sense we’ve gotten about the public’s awareness around acid attacks in Cambodia.

35 Liters of Formic Acid

People have a vague notion about acid attacks, having heard about one through a highly publicized, high profile acid attack case but don’t really consider it a social problem. But once attacked, or having a family member attacked, the change in awareness is drastic as the issue becomes their own. Their challenge then becomes to heal, learn how to cope, potentially (but rarely) seek legal justice, and eventually learn to live again forever altered. CASC is the only organization in Cambodia working to help survivors achieve these goals. We are profoundly impressed with the work CASC does and how they help survivors take back their lives.

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity(CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

Our team was able to do a few home visits of acid burn survivors. Though not at the center, these survivors still receive assistance from CASC such as medical check-ups, legal support (if they are pursuing their case in court), housing assistance and attendance at the 2-day long support group that happens every other month.

We drove outside of Phnom Penh’s dense core to an area that felt a touch more rural. There we bumped down some dirt roads and stopped at a home built of wood, with children running in and out and chickens squawking around.
Inside we met Sreyvy, 36, and her two children. She began to tell us her story but before we got very far, she firmly requested that we not photograph her kids because the assailant, till now, does not know what they look like. She felt having their pictures taken could create a safety concern and potentially put them at risk.

Sreyvy Crocheting – her Livelihood Sponsored by CASC

Backtrack to 2009. Sreyvy and her sister, Mae, are quite close. Mae happened to marry a man whose priorities seemed to include drinking a lot, squandering money and keeping his wife and kids under his control. Mae called her one day in 2009 very upset. She reported to Sreyvy that her husband had just sold their 2 year old daughter to a trafficking ring in order to buy a motorcycle.

Sreyvy was incensed and called the husband herself and told him to find his daughter and get her back. He remained silent on the phone, offering no response. For 3 months there was no communication then the death threats started coming.

One day she was working at her restaurant when he drove by on his new motorcycle and threw acid on her. In shock, and perhaps fearing for her life, she sought treatment in Vietnam for several months. When she returned to Cambodia her sister came to visit her. While Mae was visiting, her husband, the perpetrator, showed up and demanded that Mae leave with him or else he would burn down their home, which was actually Sreyvy’s property. To save the house and her sister, Mae left with him. Sreyvy has not seen her sister since, doesn’t know where she is, and has received only one secretive phone call early in 2011 with Mae’s whispering voice asking if Sreyvy was alright.

Sreyvy Crocheting, Phil Photographing

Sreyvy has been widowed for almost a decade and has been the primary breadwinner for her family. The acid attack left her thinking that she’d never be able to work again. Immediately after the attack she battled with thoughts of suicide. But since getting involved with CASC she is feeling more optimistic. There she has a community and is able to find social connection and acceptance. She regularly attends the support group. CASC has also helped her with employment – she crochets bags, purses and backpacks to sell and is quite successful doing so. She receives on-going medical support in the form of check-ups and is scheduled soon for a couple of surgeries to release contractures on her neck and on her blind eye.

Sreyvy Consoling another Survivor before her Court Case

Though her scars run heavy down her face, neck and arms she is gaining confidence in herself as a survivor. She is a powerful example, which we witnessed first hand the day we all went to court to hear the verdict of another survivor’s case. Sreyvy accompanied the other survivor on the long journey to the court and back (5 hours round trip), sat patiently with her as we waited for court to start, and stood confidently by her side while the verdict was read. She is using her situation to help others now thanks to CASC’s continuing support of her.

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

While acid burn victims are in the majority of burn victims CASC serves, we’ve also seen a few burn survivors from other types of substances. For example, a child was brought in by his mother recently because he had had sustained third degree burns from pulling a pot of boiling soup off the stove by accident. These types of “kitchen” burns are quite frequent in many developing countries. He was able to seek treatment at CASC and have a contracture released under his arm.

Another burn survivor we met is young Ngieb (pronounced “Niep”). She is 23 years old and is working for CASC as their head tailor specializing in pressure garments. She is exceptionally skilled at making these compression garments specifically to fit other burn survivors and is the only one in the country with this refined skill set. She also sews hospital scrubs and CASC regularly gets orders from hospitals around the area for dozens at a time, including the one they work most closely with: Children’s Surgical Center. In fact the day our film team went into film a burn victim’s surgery, we donned scrubs make by Niep at CASC.

Phil, Ashlee and me Preparing to go into the OR Wearing CASC-made Scrubs

Ngieb has been working from a very young age. Because her father was killed when she was very young, at 14 she moved to Phnom Penh to help support her mother by finding work as a nanny. At 18 she got married to an older man who was emotionally and physically abusive, especially when he was drinking. She endured his abuse for several years and they had one child, a beautiful daughter. Finally she had had enough and very bravely told him she wanted a divorce. She was 21 years old.

Ngieb and her Daughters talking with Phil

The most dangerous time for a domestic abuse survivor is around the time of leaving the relationship. The perpetrator’s need to have power and control over the intimate partner, in this case Ngieb, is acutely threatened and the risk that lethal violence occurs skyrockets.

In October 2007 Ngieb made her feelings clear that she wanted to leave him and he responded by dousing her with gasoline and lighting her on fire. Their 3 year old daughter witnessed the whole thing.

Ngieb Holding Her Wedding Picture

After surviving this traumatic experience, she spent all her savings on medical treatment. Initially she stayed at home – indoors – because she was ashamed of how she looked. However, while seeking medical treatment her doctor recommended she connected with CSC (Children’s Surgical Center) for specialized medical treatment for burns. There she also connected with CASC. Since joining CASC she has received on-going medical treatment, housing support, physical therapy and educational support for her daughter. She has also learned to become a talented seamstress and has been hired by CASC, honing her skills to serve the community of burn survivors.

Ngieb Sewing Hospital Scrubs

Her husband left after the incident and has not been found. He remains free from accountability for perpetrating attempted homicide.

Ngieb lives close to CASC with her mother and two young daughters (the second she had with another burn survivor at CASC). Despite, in her words,

“life being difficult from a very young age”

she is committed to supporting her family, excelling at her job at CASC and being a role model for other survivors.

Tomorrow we visit another survivor at her home and learn the ways CASC has been instrumental in her life.  We hope you check back for her story!

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

Today dawns early for me, still jetlagged. Part of my early awakening had to do with anxiety I was feeling around our first task today: going to the Children’s Surgical Center to film a burn victim’s surgery in the operating room.

I am ashamed of where my anxiety came from. It stemmed from knowing what this victim looked like and how I had reacted to seeing her. She had fresh burns covering over 30% of her body and we arrived just as her dressings were being changed. She embodied, literally, the crime of this supremely heinous act.

Operating at the Children's Surgical Center

On May 21, 2011 the wife of a man she was involved with paid someone to ride by on his motorbike and throw a bag of acid on her. She is 30 years old. From the top of her scalp down to her torso between her breasts she is burned. Both arms are entirely burned. Her thighs and back of calves are burned. We saw her sitting on a gurney, stoic, but huffing short breaths of pain as the doctors administered fresh iodine and gauze to her massive skin wound. I could not watch her for long and had to leave the room even as the doctor was pointing out the medical aspect of the damage to us. It was overwhelming.

Fast forward to today. We arrive at the hospital and I’m mentally willing myself to remain intact throughout our time in the OR. We choose our film gear, don our scrubs (made by survivors at the Cambodian’s Acid Survivors Charity), and file into the busy OR. They’ve already started the procedure called debridement: the surgical removal of foreign matter and dead tissue from a wound (dictionary.com). There is a team of 3-5 doctors and nurses working on her simultaneously. Each focuses on a section of her body and uses tweezer-like appliances to pick her dead skin away and then swab the area down with an iodine/saline soaked gauze. Fresh blood oozes from the newly revealed layer of dermis. She is intubated and completely sedated. I am strangely relieved because she is at least – for the moment – not in pain.

The Process of Debridement

She has already had one skin graft to her face. The doctor explains that they try to save the eyes and face first. Unfortunately it was too late for her eyes. One is completely blind and the other only sees shades of light. She will have to endure numerous operations in the future to graft her healthy skin to the permanently damaged areas.

Children’s Surgical Center works closely with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity; the former addressing critical medical needs and the latter offering legal, emotional, educational, vocational and shelter support. These are the only specialized organizations equipped to deal with acid burns in the country. CSC treats 90% of all acid burn victims. Had today’s survivor not made it to the CSC she most likely would have died. CASC will be ready and waiting to help her on her long journey of rehabilitation when she is ready. There, she will know that she is not alone and that there can be hope.

Phil and Ashlee at Work

For the 1.5 hours her surgery takes, I do my best to keep busy by taking pictures and staying out of the way of Phil and Ashlee’s filming. I also take a peak around the busy OR. Four more surgeries happen while we’re in there. I also note on the morning agenda that two more acid burn victims will undergo debridement. Three in one morning strikes me as a lot.

June 9, 2011 Morning Surgery Schedule

During the hubbub and banter of medical staff, beeping machines and people moving in and out, I catch myself looking at her just a few feet away thinking: How could anyone do something like this? Feeling my stomach knot up in fear and sorrow for how she’ll have to live the rest of her life, I wonder if there will be any type of justice for her and appropriate punishment for the perpetrator. Or, if the perpetrator will, like so many others, be treated lightly or even with impunity leaving the survivor to feel an extra weight in the heartache of her already broken life.

Tomorrow, more personal stories of acid-burn survivors and how CASC is providing the vital services and assistance that enables them to build a dignified life!

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

Our small team, consisting of Phil (head photographer/film-maker), Ashlee (recent graduate of photography) and me (scribe/blogger), traveled to two women’s houses to meet them and document their stories. Accompanying us is a social worker from CASC, Sokhon, who translates for us and a skilled driver of the CASC vehicle – a burn survivor himself.

Regardless of residing in Phnom Penh it still took us a hour to get to the first home, traffic being what it is in this city. As we bumped and swerved along enroute to our destination, we picked up two twenty kilo sacks of rice as gestures of gratitude for the women who would shortly be telling us their stories.

Buying Rice for Home Visits

We turned off the main road onto increasingly smaller, narrow streets eventually turning onto a dirt road where we stopped in front of a fruit stand flanked by a small brick home. Blind and feeling her way out of the doorway into the sun to greet us was Sokreun, our first survivor.

This tiny woman was attacked when she was 22 years old. She is now 37. She had been a stunning beauty and after we had completed the interview, she pulled out the two pictures she owned of herself before the attack: the first a photo of her as a bridesmaid and the second, a more stoic picture that was taken just 3 months before the attack.

Acid Burn Survivor, Sokreun

She had been a successful business woman selling corn. She owned property and was financially well off. One of the men who came to work for her was in the process of getting a divorce from his first wife in early 1992. Sokreun and he fell in love and were married in November 1992. Their first child died, but a couple years later they had her now oldest child of three, Phivorn. When Phivorn was 3 months and 18 days old, the ex-wife of Sokreun’s husband showed up with her brother and together they doused Sokreun with 5 liters of acid.

From 1995 to 2004 Sokreun had to foot the extensive medical bills herself by selling her business and property. She has endured over 20 surgeries and is now dependent on others, mainly her oldest daughter. Being landless, she lives on government property in their local community in a building usually reserved for community events, festivals and gatherings. Her parents asked the community council to give her this plot of land, but the council has not given full permission for them to stay. Thus the family exists in a type of limbo – residing on government property that is being ‘lent’ to them but always fearing being kicked out and having nowhere to go. In 2010 CASC helped build the small brick building on that property not only due to need, but perhaps in an attempt to solidify her living there.

Sokreun, Acid Burn Survivor

On March 8, 2009 the perpetrator was arrested and sent to prison for a crime she committed in 1995. She receives special treatment in prison because she has connections and could be released sooner than the 5 year sentence she received. The other party involved in the crime has never been held accountable.

One of the aspects in the complex problem of acid burning is that the police and judicial systems are corrupt. On the one hand people take conflict resolution into their own hands because they don’t trust the police, acid burning being one severe resolution tactic. On the other hand once an acid attack has happened there is no clear criminal justice procedure to hold perpetrators accountable. It takes an incredibly brave survivor to pursue their case in court because of these systemic challenges. Additionally survivors sometimes receive on going threats from the perpetrators, especially if the perpetrators have connections (family, relatives, friends) to the military, government, police or judicial systems.

Sokreun Sitting with Her 2 Daughters

Next our team will visit the operating room to film a burn victim’s surgery.  Stay tuned!

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Straight from Cambodia – Danielle along with Ashlee Larsen, a Brigham Young graduate student, is accompanying Stirring the Fire founder, Phil Borges as he documents the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

A late-night arrival in Phnom Penh and an early morning-start today allowed me to hit the ground running. It began by a 7am pick up at my hotel. A minivan of employees on their daily commute to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity swung by to pick me up. Battling an hour of near-miss traffic, we arrived at our destination just after 8am.

The CASC compound is located off a main street, giving it an atmosphere of country rather than city. Adding to this are the grounds of the compound, offering lots of space to cultivate crops and raise poultry – some of the skills that acid burn survivors will learn while at the center. This feeling of spaciousness and peace is guarded, quite literally. The property has 24 hour security because some acid burn survivors continue to receive threats while at the center.

Helping me get oriented, Program Manager Ziad Samman provided a thorough overview of the work CASC does and how they help survivors in their rehabilitation. They offer a holistic approach ranging from networking with hospitals and healthcare providers, to advocacy and outreach, to working with local authorities and other NGOs, and helping survivors build their legal cases. CASC has also contributed to first-ever legislation that would regulate the sales of acid and give harsher criminal sentences to perpetrators. The draft of legislation is currently being worked on and the hope is that it will be signed into law by early next year.

CASC also provides on-site housing for survivors recently burned, or recently found (half the patients are previous acid burn survivors who never got help). They also provide 3 meals a day, on-site physical therapy and peer counseling.  Another unique aspect of this organization is that they are the only agency that custom makes pressure garments for burn survivors in all of Cambodia.

Land to cultivate on the CASC compound

Pressure, or compression garments are key in helping survivors heal from burns. They need to be tailored to the individual in order to truly work. They fit snuggly on the arm, leg, or face in order to help keep the skin from forming three-dimensional, hard scars that, if left untreated, limit the person’s movement over time.

Pressure Garments and Hand-knit Bags made by Survivors

Throughout the day as I learned about CASC and the work they do, Zaid and I revisited the persistent question of why? Why do people resort to throwing acid on others? This question unfortunately has no clear answer. In order to try to understand this horrific act, one has to start by looking at the complicated web of people’s lives from the micro to the macro. Throwing acid seems to be a remedy for inter-personal conflict resolution. People want to put an end to a dispute, or to a situation that they feel they cannot control. Anecdotally, from the survivors I spoke with there appeared to be a total misunderstanding on the part of the perpetrator as to the devastating effects of acid. It seems the perpetrators didn’t mean to maim them so badly, or destroy their lives so completely. They just wanted to put a stop to something that person was doing.

Part of the issue is how easily acid is available for purchase. In Cambodia acid is considered a household necessity and is frequently used to clear blocked drains. Here you also have to change your car battery acid on your own, rather than replace an entire old battery with a new one. Acid is therefore sold pretty much anywhere in pretty much any type of container including plastic bags and soda bottles. And it is cheap – about 1$US for 1 liter.

Some of the burn victims mistook acid for water and either bathed in it or drank it. But those are the rarer incidents. More often it is used in a premeditated, organized, targeted way to get a point across.

Tomorrow our team will be going on home visits to speak with survivors. Their stories will be shared here. Stay tuned!

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.

Posted by & filed under Field Apprenticeships, Stirring The Fire.

Our team is traveling to Cambodiato take a closer look at issues of violence against women and girls and work with organizations that are working to end such violence. As is commonly known, violence against women and girls happens in every country around the world with some common themes, such as domestic violence, as well as some differences, such as genital cutting/mutilation, child marriage, trafficking or acid attacks.

We will be working with two separate NGOs, both based out of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The first, Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, helps to rehabilitate burn victims, primarily from acid but also from gasoline. We’ll be documenting stories of survivors and looking at the positive impact that CASC has had in their lives. The second NGO is called Youth Star and focuses on violence prevention. We will follow a couple of student volunteers to their villages to see what prevention strategies they implement and what has been successful as well as talk with victims of domestic violence.

Left to Right: Danielle Prince, Phil Borges, Ashlee Larson

Our small team consists of Phil Borges, Ashlee Larsen and me, Danielle Prince. Phil Borges is an internationally known documentary photographer and film-maker. His latest project Stirring the Fire, is a global movement to empower women and girls. He is a strong ally and voice in this movement. I am deeply grateful to him for the work he is doing and the commitment he brings to move these issues into the light.

Phil Borges

Ashlee Larsen is a recent graduate in photography from Brigham Young University. She brings an impressive background of world travel, having already travelled through Asia and pursuing her study abroad semester in the Pacific Islands, just to mention a few of the places she’s been. She is currently working on her capstone project in which she is photographing survivors of different types of trauma. Her skills as a photographer and perspectives as a world traveler are greatly appreciated!

Ashlee Larson

A little about me: I have a love of writing, travel, and more importantly, passion and experience working for women’s and girls’ rights. In Seattle I work with survivors of domestic violence. Prior to that, I worked at a micro-finance organization in New York focusing on women’s access to microloans. I hold an MA in International Development Studies with a concentration in women’s migration from the Global South to the Global North (specifically from Africa to Europe). I have also volunteered in places like Southern Sudan, Ghana and India in ways relating to women’s and girls’ rights as well as in Seattle for Women’s Refugee Alliance.

Danielle Prince

Stay tuned tomorrow as we begin documenting the work of Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.  We look forward to sharing our trip with you!

Ending Violence against Women – Acid Burns

Acid burning is one of the most extreme forms of violence that causes severe physical and psychological scarring, and social ostracism. The victims of acid violence, largely women and girls, are often left with limited access to medical or psychological assistance, no legal recourse, and no means of livelihood.

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organization in the world focused on combating and eradicating acid burns violence at the international level. In Cambodia, ASTI partners with Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) to provide vital services to survivors of acid burns violence. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, ASTI and CASC assist women survivors of acid violence to receive justice and to rebuild their lives. The organizations also sensitize and empower local communities to stand up against acid violence.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women, is a leading source of support for local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Join the UN Trust Fund in this vital work—for more information on how you can support the UN trust Fund click here.