Give burn survivors access to rehabilitation

 
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Jul 15, 2014

What I have seen and learned in India

Helping burn rehabilitation specialists in India 4

Sunshine Foundation initiated a three-year cooperation project in 2013 in Chennai, India to help a local organization set up a Care Center for women burn survivors. By training their staff in Chennai and holding internships for them in Taiwan, as well as providing continuous support through monthly online meetings, we are helping this local organization address an unmet need: provide comprehensive physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services for women burn survivors after hospital discharge. For the April 2014 site visit in Chennai, the team of Sunshine professional was accompanied by Gina Lien, a burn survivor from Taiwan, who was a “volunteer reporter,” helping record the trip through stories and pictures.


This was my first trip to India. I remember how surprised my friends were when I told them I was going. In order to prepare for this trip, I read a lot of documentation prepared by Sunshine Foundation to understand the situation in Chennai but as they say, seeing is believing. Only when I landed in Chennai did I truly understand how far away I was from Taipei, in every aspect possible.

Because this is a three-year project with PCVC (International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care), our site visit was to review work done over the last year. The Sunshine team was extremely happy that within only four months, PCVC was able to implement so many changes. Thanks to a presentation made by PCVC on the first day, we were able to appreciate how fast they set up the Care Center and how, from a loose work organization, they now use clear work division, standard forms and procedures, as well as meetings to provide better services.

Although this was my first visit to PCVC, I could immediately sense the camaraderie that exists between the staff. And based on the rapidity with which they implemented changes after their return from the internship in Taiwan, I could also sense their enthusiasm. The enthusiasm of staff working as a team will not simply emerge with one word or one command from their CEO, staff themselves must have the desire to improve their team work to benefit burn survivors. I was touched when I learned that one of the social workers was willing to stay after work to try to address the needs of burn survivors staying at the Center. This willingness of staff to empathize with burn survivors is extremely precious and should not be taken for granted.

I remember the first day we arrived at the Center and were welcomed by the burn survivors. We played with them games and everyone laughed so much. In the evening at the hotel, as I was writing the day’s report, I began to wonder if the burn survivors realized that I was like them or if they thought that I was a staff member from Sunshine Foundation? This question crossed my mind because I am a very optimistic and outgoing person, and socially-speaking, you can say that I am a burn survivor who has adapted extremely well. I’m not a burn professional, I cannot provide direct services to burn survivors but my hope before going to India was to give them emotional support. I have no way of knowing for sure if they felt it, but from the first day we met and weren’t familiar with one another, to the subsequent five days during which everyone warmly greeted one another, the smiles on their faces tells me that they most probably did.

I have to say that there is still a lot I don’t know about India. But on this trip, I have learned that no matter where you go, you must respect other cultures, open up your heart and broaden your perspective. You shouldn’t limit yourself to what you know, but instead embrace different experiences, as well as challenge your habits and your comfort zone. I’ve also learned that while we are sharing our experience with others, we must also empathize with their culture, their background, etc. That’s how cooperation can be more harmonious. At various levels, I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to join this trip, live this experience and learn from it.

Your support is crucial!

Your donations make it possible for Sunshine Foundation to share its expertise with other burn professionals in the world. Now, thanks to Bonus Day on July 16th, your donation can achieve even greater impact. During the July 16th Bonus Day, GlobalGiving will be matching online donations made to Sunshine Foundation at 40%! This means that a US$100 donation will result in a US$40 match!

Bonus Day begins at 9:00 am EDT on July 16th, 2014 (time in your city) and ends at 11:59 pm EDT (time in your city) on July 16th, 2014. There is $130,000 in matching funds available, so be sure to make your donation early.

Online donations of up to $1,000 per individual donor per project are eligible to be matched at 40%. In addition, the organization that raises the most donations on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th.

Apr 30, 2014

A year later, seeing change in India

Sunshine therapist shows how to make a hand splint
Sunshine therapist shows how to make a hand splint

Helping burn rehabilitation specialists in India 3

Sunshine Foundation initiated a three-year cooperation project in 2013 in Chennai, India to help a local organization set up a Care Center for women burn survivors. By training their staff in Chennai and holding internships for them in Taiwan, as well as providing continuous support through monthly SKYPE meetings, we are helping this local organization address an unmet need: provide comprehensive physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services for women burn survivors after hospital discharge.

From April 14 to April 19, the Sunshine team visited its partner in Chennai, the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), to assess the impact of the professional training and technical support given in 2013. During this one-week visit, Hsiu-Hsiu TU, Director of Sunshine Half-Way House, as well as Karen HSIAO, Supervisor of Rehabilitation Services and Shih-Yuan HUNG, Occupational Therapist at Sunshine Rehabilitation Center, observed activities of the Care Center, carried out discussions with staff and provided technical advice and recommendations.

The Sunshine team was amazed at the progress made by the staff of the Care Center during a short period of time, especially since much of the changes began being implemented right after the one-month training held in November-December 2013 in Taiwan for PCVC’s social worker and physical therapist. A big part of the training in Taiwan had to do with how to put in place more efficient service processes in order to facilitate communication between staff of the Care Center, and thus have a better handle on the situation and changing needs of clients. Changes made subsequently at the Care Center reflect this concern. For example:

  • The social workers and the physical therapist completely overhauled the process and forms used to evaluate client, by emphasizing individual needs covering a wide range of issues (ex: physical, psychological, social adaptation, family relations, etc.).
  • They have started to use new tools and methods to analyze the situation of clients and develop better targeted service strategies (ex: using an eco-map to map out the client’s relationship to her family and environment, and identify supporting resources).
  • They started to maintain detailed individual case records to keep track of interventions and their impact on the client’s progress.
  • The staff started holding regular meetings to discuss work issues and coordinate efforts, thus fostering better work team cooperation.

Work processes, forms, case records and meetings all sound quite dry and administrative, but in fact, they help ensure that every staff is on the same page when it comes to helping clients. It also helps staff track and measure the impact of their interventions, then making adjustments when necessary. It also helps staff and client formulate clear, specific goals to be achieved during the rehabilitation period. Staff and client know what they need to do, why they need to do it, and when they can start expecting progress.

The Sunshine team was particularly impressed and touched by the fact that the Care Center has taken the brave step of developing home outreach services, to bring services to the home of women burn survivors. Indeed, due to a variety of complex factors (unhealed wounds, financial difficulty, domestic violence, need to care for children, fear, etc.), many women burn survivors are unable or unwilling to come at the Care Center to receive services after hospital discharge, resulting in delays and complication of their physical/psychosocial situation. The Care Center is now doing follow-up through telephone calls and home visits to educate women burn survivors about proper wound care, the need for physical rehabilitation, etc. The task is especially daunting, considering that many women burn survivors are living in difficult socio-economic situation and that most of them still have major wounds that risk getting infected or scars that risk contracting.

The professionals of the Care Center are not just working on burns, they are also dealing on a daily basis with other issues like poverty, domestic violence, family relations or women’s issues, which add to the complexity of their work. However, during this visit, the Sunshine team has seen the determination of everyone at the Care Center to improve services for women burn survivors, as well as the dedication and respect they show to their clients. Inspired by the Care Center’s progress and understanding their current development needs, the Sunshine team is now enthusiastically preparing the second one-month training that will be held in Taiwan in August 2014 for PCVC staff. In order to help the Care Center move to the next level, the training is expected to focus on, among other things:

  • Sharing Sunshine’s expertise in outreach services as carried out by our social workers in hospitals and in clients’ homes.
  • Sharing Sunshine’s expertise in delivering home rehabilitation services.
  • Sharing Sunshine’s expertise in operating a short-term housing facility that can address the wound care, physical rehabilitation and social adaptation needs of burn survivors as soon as they leave the hospital.

You made this change happen!

The huge stride made by PCVC to improve services and bring changes in the lives of women burn survivors was made possible thanks to your support of Sunshine’s international capacity building projects. Now, during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day on May 7, 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 help improve burn rehabilitation services in low-middle income countries by donating to our project Help Train Burn Rehabilitation Professionals.

Mark the Bonus Day date on your calendar!!!
Taiwan time: from Wednesday, May 7 at 9:00 PM to Thursday, May 8 at 11:59 AM.
US time: from Wednesday, May 7 at 9:00 AM EST to Wednesday, May 7 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.

Social workers discuss case management methods
Social workers discuss case management methods
Feb 8, 2014

Help bring hope to burn survivors worldwide

In 2011, after 30 years of working locally in Taiwan to offer burn survivors comprehensive rehabilitation services, Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation decided to become involved at the international level and contribute to address the global problem of burns. Indeed, most of the burns occur in low-middle income countries, affecting the most vulnerable segments of population: women and children.

What are we doing to address the problem of burns?

Skilled and knowledgeable burn rehabilitation professionals can help improve services for burn survivors in their country. Sunshine Foundation helps like-minded organizations in other countries by sharing our experience in burn rehabilitation and prevention.

Through international cooperation projects based on knowledge transfer and capacity building, Sunshine helps burn professionals in low-middle income countries build their capacities to offer better services to local burn survivors and ensure that no one misses receiving appropriate care due to poverty or lack of resources.

What have we done so far?

  • In Nicaragua, we have been implementing since 2011 a training program to teach seamstresses and therapists from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic advanced pressure garment production techniques. As a result, burned children in these countries benefit from better fitting, more comfortable and more efficient garments to control scar growth, thus diminishing the risk of contractures and deformities, and avoiding unnecessary surgeries.
  • In Chennai, India, we initiated a cooperation project in 2013 to help a local organization set up a Care Center for women burn survivors. By training their staff in Chennai and holding internships for them in Taiwan, as well as sharing our service model, we are helping this local organization address an unmet need in their community: provide comprehensive physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services for women burn survivors after hospital discharge.

Your support over the last year has been crucial to the development of these international projects and you have helped bring changes in the lives of burn survivors worldwide. Now during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day on February 12, 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 help improve burn rehabilitation services in low-middle income countries by donating to our project Help Train Burn Rehabilitation Professionals.

Bonus Day will be held on…

Taiwan time: from Wednesday, February 12 at 10:00 PM to Thursday, February 13 at 11:59 AM.

US time: from Wednesday, February 12 at 9:00 AM EST to Wednesday, February 12 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.

Jan 27, 2014

Bridging language barriers to help burn survivors

Joy during her internship at Sunshine Foundation
Joy during her internship at Sunshine Foundation

Helping burn rehabilitation specialists in India 2

In April 2013, Sunshine Foundation launched its newest capacity building cooperation project in India. Over a three-year period, Sunshine Foundation will provide 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. Following a site visit carried out at the newly established Recovery and Healing Center in April 2013, the Sunshine team developed a specialized training program to help build the burn rehabilitation capacities of PCVC staff.

Sunshine had the immense pleasure of welcoming to Taiwan two PCVC staff for training from November 16 to December 14, 2013. The trainees were Buvi, a physical therapist and Joy, a social worker. For both of them, it was the first time to go abroad for professional training. For Sunshine staff, it was the first time to receive international trainees. The experience has been rewarding for everyone.

Joy – The social worker whose empathy bridges cultural and language barriers

It’s often difficult to describe what social workers working with burn survivors do exactly. Unlike therapists who rely on tangible equipment or exercises, social workers do not have any “visible” tools that will make their work obvious to the general observer. To understand the needs of clients and help build strategies to address these needs, social workers observe and talk to the client, to his family, to the other professionals working with him. By observing and talking, they gather information and eventually, they piece together a picture of the client’s story, his needs, expectations and desires for the future. From there, a service program to fulfill these needs is developed. In the process, social workers build a trusting relationship and provide emotional support. As a young social worker who has been working with Indian women burn survivors for over a year, Joy is familiar with this concept of planning and implementing a service program. However, there is a huge step from theory to practice when time comes to plan a truly “individualized” program.

To help Joy bridge the gap between theory and practice, the Sunshine team arranged courses for Joy to explain our work process and methods, and she was also able to observe how our social workers and psychological counselors work with clients, what evaluation tools and techniques they use, etc. An individualized approach to service was particularly emphasized, where the different facets of a client’s needs are taken into consideration by the multi-disciplinary team when setting goals for services, including physical and psychological well-being, but also material well-being, learning, rights, relationships, etc. In order to put into practice the theory she learned, Joy was assigned two clients to follow and was given the challenge to develop a service program for them with specific short-term goals.

Apart from having to use new frameworks, Joy faced a huge challenge: how to communicate with clients who do not speak English (or can only manage a few sentences)? How to build a trusting relationship with them when they don’t understand each other? Of course, Sunshine staff was there to help with translation, but what made the biggest difference were Joy’s open and engaging attitude, as well as her sincere concern and the empathy she showed towards the clients. With these qualities, language could not be a barrier to building a trusting relationship with clients, and Joy engaged with them quite naturally, even without the help of a translator. In the end, Joy amazed everyone with her presentation of proposed service programs for clients, which showed sensitivity to clients’ needs.

Joy was mentored during her training by Hsiu-Hsiu TU, Director of Sunshine Half-Way House. Hsiu-Hsiu praised Joy’s keen sense of observation and her “active learning,” by which Joy constantly put her learning in context and related it with her work at PCVC. Hsiu-Hsiu was also very impressed with Joy’s eagerness to implement changes after going back to Chennai, such as building true multi-disciplinary team work and proposing more structured work processes. Sunshine will be able to see what Joy and her colleagues have been able to accomplish and provide support during another visit to Chennai by the Sunshine team scheduled for April 2014.

Joy discusses client
Joy discusses client's case with therapist
Joy with her "mentor" Hsiu-Hsiu
Joy with her "mentor" Hsiu-Hsiu
Jan 13, 2014

A burn therapist finds support with her peers

Buvi during her training at Sunshine Foundation
Buvi during her training at Sunshine Foundation

Helping burn rehabilitation specialists in India 1

In April 2013, Sunshine Foundation launched its newest capacity building cooperation project in India. Over a three-year period, Sunshine Foundation will provide 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. Following a site visit carried out at the newly established Recovery and Healing Center in April 2013, the Sunshine team developed a specialized training program to help build the burn rehabilitation capacities of PCVC staff.

Sunshine had the immense pleasure of welcoming to Taiwan two PCVC staff for training from November 16 to December 14, 2013. The trainees were Buvi, a physical therapist and Joy, a social worker. For both of them, it was the first time to go abroad for professional training. For Sunshine staff, it was the first time to receive international trainees. The experience has been rewarding for everyone.

Buvi – The little therapist with big responsibilities

With the opening of the Recovery and Healing Center, PCVC began offering physical rehabilitation to women burn survivors. For the organization, this is a whole new, unfamiliar field of work but fortunately, they were able to soon find a therapist. Buvi joined PCVC early in 2013 after graduation and is currently the only therapist at the Center. Little in stature but full of energy and motivation, she immediately had to shoulder the big responsibility of setting up physical rehabilitation services, such as planning equipment, material and work schedule, as well as evaluating and designing rehabilitation programs for every client of the Center.

Burn rehabilitation is a specialty within the broader field of rehab but back in university, Buvi didn’t get too much exposure to burns, and finding relevant textbooks on this topic has proven quite difficult. As the only therapist at the Center, she understood her responsibility and was committed to her work, but where would she find answers to her questions and how would she know if what she was doing was right?

“I was like a rough stone, but now I feel like you have shaped me and sculpted me”

When the Sunshine team met Buvi back in April 2013, the two therapists from Sunshine Foundation accompanied Buvi over the course of a week, working with clients together and discussing cases, giving recommendations on interventions or on tools used, etc. From this observation, specific training goals were outlined to establish her knowledge and technical skills regarding: scar formation and scar management, reconstructive surgery and post-surgery rehabilitation, splinting, evaluation burn clients, and based on this evaluation, design, implementation and modification of a rehabilitation plan. Furthermore, the training aimed to help Buvi understand the role and responsibility of the therapist in an organization and within the burn team. Training was carried out over one month, through theoretical courses, book reading, site visits and clinical practice and observation.

Used to working mostly alone, Buvi was suddenly thrust into the busy environment of the Sunshine Rehabilitation Center, surrounded by a team of therapists under the supervision of Karen Fong-Yi HSIAO. She wasn’t deterred by the fast pace of training, but eagerly absorbed all the knowledge that she could, “shadowing” Karen, asking questions and constantly seeking clarifications about her work. Based on her extensive experience in burn rehab, Karen gave Buvi guidance and showed her work principles that will be useful back in India.

For Buvi, the training was an eye-opening experience. During courses and book readings, Buvi was introduced to important theoretical concepts and knowledge, which were then placed in practical context by Karen during clinical observation. For example, she gained a better understanding of burn acute phase care and how reconstructive surgery will affect post-burn rehabilitation. She was also introduced to splint production and was able to start making some splints. But more importantly, she now has a better picture of her role within the Center and what should be her work priorities, and she also has gained confidence in her capabilities. She has also started thinking about what changes or improvements can be made to enhance the efficiency of rehabilitation services, not just when clients come to the Center, but also earlier, immediately after hospital discharge, to educate patients and family members about the importance of rehabilitation.

At Sunshine Foundation, Buvi was able to find guidance from peers to help her build her burn rehabilitation capabilities, and she found a mentor in Karen. On the last day of training, Buvi said something that moved everyone: “I was like a rough stone, but now I feel like you have shaped me and sculpted me.” In the course of her daily work, Buvi would sometimes wonder and doubt about whether she chose a correct approach or made a right decision, but now she has gained the kind of confidence that comes from enhanced professional knowledge and skills. Sunshine will continue to accompany Buvi in this process of learning, with another visit to Chennai being scheduled for early 2014, as well as regular SKYPE meetings to answer her questions or discuss specific client cases.

Buvi practicing splint making techniques
Buvi practicing splint making techniques
Buvi with her "mentor," Karen Fong-Yi HSIAO
Buvi with her "mentor," Karen Fong-Yi HSIAO

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Project Leader

Marie-Claude Pelchat

Taipei City, Taiwan

Where is this project located?

Map of Give burn survivors access to rehabilitation