Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation

Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation was established in 1981 by a group of individuals committed to improving the lives of burn survivors and people with facial disfigurement. Sunshine Foundation has for mission to provide an extensive range of services for burn survivors and people with facial disfigurement in order to assist them in their physical, psychological and social rehabilitation, as well as uphold their human rights and dignity.
Jul 31, 2015

From victims to survivors: Kaohsiung Gas Explosion burn survivors encourage burn victims

Almost a year ago on August 1st 2014, a terrible gas explosion shook the southern city of Kaohsiung, with many people sustaining severe burn injuries. For a year now, Sunshine Foundation has been helping 51 burn survivors from this disaster, with 41 of them still undergoing physical and psychological rehabilitation at the Kaohsiung Rehabilitation Center. As these burn survivors are still trying to overcome many difficulties in order to return to a normal life, they are also painfully aware of the hardships facing another group of burn victims: those from the Taipei Water Park Explosion of June 27, 2015. That is why eight burn survivors from Sunshine’s Kaohsiung Rehabilitation Center have decided to overcome their shyness in front of the camera to participate in the production of a short film and send encouragements to burn victims currently struggling in hospitals across Taiwan. They hope that by sharing their experience, they can give burn victims and family members the courage and hope to face the future. 

See the video here

The eight burn survivors featured in the film have TBSA (total body surface area that is burned) ranging from 12% to 75%. Apart from the physical pain from repeated debridement, skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries, they’ve also had to deal with the emotional pressure of coping with a changed appearance or being entirely dependent on others for their daily needs. They bravely share on camera their ordeal in order to encourage the burn victims from the Taipei Water Park Explosion.

One of them is Yan-Hsiang, who sustained third degree burns over 66% of his body. The explosion knocked him unconscious and he woke up a month and a half later, only to realize that his right leg had been amputated in order to preserve his life. Deep in despair about his condition and his future, he realized that his wife and child had remained by his side, caring for him every day, so he decided that they would be his reason to go on. Yan-Hsiang must now wear pressure garments, he’s had to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg and he will most probably need to undergo further reconstructive surgeries for his face, but he is well aware of how far he’s come and wants to send burn victims this message: “I’ve lost a leg and now I’m able to stand up, you too can do it!”

Yan-Hsiang says: “You have to find something you believe in that will be your reason to go on living or something that you feel you must accomplish in your life. Don’t think about yesterday, the day before or things in the past. Your physical condition will be totally different from what it used to be. You have to think about how you’ll face tomorrow and the day after.”

About Kaoshiung Rehabilitation Center:

Sunshine’s Kaohsiung Rehabilitation Center was established in 2014 following the August 1st Gas Explosion. The Center provides physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services to burn survivors, including physical and occupational therapy, pressure garment and assistive device services, financial aid, psychological counseling, independent living training, wound care and vocational strengthening.

Links:

Jul 13, 2015

Sunshine's response to the June 27 Formosa Fun Coast Water Park Explosion 2

After a family meeting, a relative of one of the victims said with tears in her eyes: “Before attending this meeting, I had no idea that we have such a long road ahead of us…”

Following the major explosion that took place at the Formosa Fun Coast Water Park and that injured close to 500 youths, Sunshine Foundation mobilized its staff to respond to the needs of the victims and the families affected by the tragedy, as well as the needs of professionals working with the victims.

At this point, helping parents and family members cope with stress and reduce their anxiety is extremely important. A burn accident, especially one the scope of the June 27th Formosa Water Park Explosion, catches people off guard. At that moment, family members of the victim are left feeling helpless, anxious and at a loss about what comes next. Caught up in dealing with the immediate need for emergency medical care, many parents cannot fathom what the future of their child will be, let alone the challenges they will face in the next few months. Indeed, many people unfamiliar with burns believe that once their child leaves hospital, all will be well, whereas in fact, this is when the difficult process of rehabilitation begins.

Apart from providing appropriate psychological support to family members through a special Help Hotline set up just two days after the incident, Sunshine has also begun to hold support meeting for family members of the victims, to help them understand the recovery and rehabilitation process of their child, answer their questions and address their worries. During these meetings, social workers of Sunshine help explain the physical and rehabilitation process after burns, as well as introduce the services and resources that Sunshine can provide burn survivors and their families. Already, two meetings have been held on July 8 and 11, with three more to be held on July 15, 19 and 22. Furthermore, Sunshine will also be working with hospitals to hold similar meetings in the hospital with family members, or in the case where some hospitals have fewer numbers of burn patients (less than five families), Sunshine will arrange individual counseling for family members.

Apart from psychological support for families, social workers and therapists of Sunshine have begun holding special trainings for professionals involved in the care of the explosion victims. The Formosa Water Park Explosion resulted in a huge number of people sustaining major burn injuries, suddenly increasing the need for relevant burn services. Various agencies are now mobilizing their staff to provide assistance to victims and their family, however, many professionals are not familiar with burns and might not feel equipped to deal with the various uncertainties that might arise due to the particularities of burns. In order to give professionals the tools and knowledge to deal with this crisis, Sunshine began organizing on July 4 special training courses targeting social workers and psychologists, with the aim of increasing their burn-related knowledge. Courses for therapists (physical and occupation therapists), as well as volunteers involved in support work are now being held as well. Sunshine Foundation has over 30 years of experience in burn rehabilitation and is ready to share its expertise, the idea being to strengthen the abilities of every professional involved in the care of the burn victims in order to create a strong and efficient service network.

Jul 5, 2015

"Thank you for meeting me in person!"

Going to a job interview can be a nerve-wrecking experience. Whether it’s on our resume or during the interview process, we want to project the best side of ourselves and let the employer be won over by our charisma, our talent and our skills. But what happens when you have a visible facial difference? How do you make sure that people go beyond appearances and appreciate you for your qualities? This is an issue faced regularly by burn survivors when time comes for them to go back to active life and (re)integrate the job market.

Because of their different appearance, burn survivors often face discrimination when they return to their community, their school or when they try to find work. In order to raise awareness about this issue, Sunshine made a short film featuring one of our clients Cai-Yu that is inspired by her experience looking for a job, going to interviews and being “politely” rejected before even getting a chance to present herself once the potential employer saw her scars.

See the video here (you can select English, French or Spanish subtitles).

Sunshine Foundation helps burn survivors and people with facial disfigurement by providing physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services. Another important part of our work is to also uphold their human rights and dignity. It’s one thing to help burn survivors regain physical functions, but if they return to an unfriendly environment that judges them not on their talent and capacities but on their appearance, then we only did half of the work.

Your support is crucial not only in helping burn survivors like Cai-Yu to find the strength to return to a normal life after her injury and participate actively in society, but also in helping us change society’s discriminatory attitudes and beliefs towards facial disfigurement.

Now, during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day on July 15, you have the chance to maximize the value of your support because GlobalGiving will be matching gifts made to Sunshine Foundation at 30%. This means that your donation of $100 will receive a $30 match!

We invite you to support Sunshine Foundation’s efforts to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to burn survivors in Taiwan by donating to our project Rehabilitation for burn survivors in Taiwan.

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/burn-survivor-rehabilitation/ .

Mark the Bonus Day date on your calendar!!!

Taiwan time: from Wednesday, July 15 at 9:00 PM to Thursday, July 16 at 11:59 AM.
US time: from Wednesday, July 15 at 9:00 AM EST to Wednesday, July 15 at 11:59 PM EST

On behalf of Sunshine Foundation and its international partners, a huge thank you for your support!

PS: We encourage you to make your donation early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.

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