On this International Women’s Day, we would like to reintroduce you to Interplast’s partner Dr. Chandini Perera of Sri Lanka.
Chandini (shown above) is one of only six plastic surgeons in Sri Lanka and head of the country's burn care facility. She heals and empowers abused women with disabling burns (mainly from acid burns and self-immolation; 70 percent of her patients are abused women). Her patients include Kanchana (shown below), whose boyfriend threw acid on her in anger of her leaving the village for nursing school; she is now a nurse at the National Hospital of Colombo.
Burns are the only injury that happens more to women than men—mainly because of domestic chores on open fires but tragically, often because of domestic abuse. To give context to how large a problem it is, nearly 4 million women fall victim to a severe burn from fire each year—the same number who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS every year.
As you celebrate International Women’s Day today, we hope you will remember women in developing countries who suffer from disabling burns and women like Dr. Chandini Perera who helps heal and empower them. To learn more about Chandini and her work, check out NPR’s interview with her.
Photos by Phil Borges.