I talk a lot about rising above the hate and getting off your ass to actually make a real difference in the lives of the people around you.
A friend of mine, named Claire Knowlton, does that on a regular basis. Claire is the Board President of The Life You Can Save which is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on effective giving. You can find out more about her fantastic organization and the valuable work they do by clicking here.
Claire recently came to me with a project that her associate, Angie brought to her attention, that she thought Skepchick and Skepchick readers may be able to help with.
A young woman named Christine was attacked with acid in Africa and is coming to America (specifically the Calabasas area of California) to receive restorative surgery. Some back story:
When I worked in Uganda, I met a young Tanzanian woman named Christine
who was the victim of an acid attack in 2012. When I got back to the
US, I started asking around about the possibility of a probono surgery
for her and through the help of a friend of mine, contacted Grossman
Burn Foundation in LA, who agreed to take her case (awesome news!)
Grossman Burn Foundation will take care of all of the medical parts of
her care, but it is up to me and my friend to find a host family for
her while she is here in the US. She will need multiple surgeries
with rehabilitation time in between so they are estimating she will be
here for about one year. (I’m attaching a picture of her so you can
have a sense of the extent of the damage.) In addition to a host
family, we are looking for people who can volunteer to help in
supplementary ways– for example, driving her to appointments, taking
her shopping, invite her out for entertainment, etc.
My question for you is whether you know of anyone in LA who might
consider being a host family or people who can help in the additional
ways I listed above. I don’t know personally know anyone in the area
so am just trying to reach out in whatever ways I can. If it’s
helpful, I’m also happy to provide more information about Christine’s
Here is that information promised:
• 22 years old, born in Tanzania
• Lives in a small town in Uganda with her long-term boyfriend, they have a 2 year old daughter together.
• Victim of acid attack in 2011, perpetrator was ex-girlfriend of current boyfriend, Christine was pregnant with her daughter at the time of the attack.
• Speaks limited English, native language Swahili.
• Takes tailoring classes at local NGO (Hope of Children and Women Victims of Violence-HOCW), goal to own her own boutique/shop one day.
• Significant social anxiety when leaving home; in Uganda, it is not uncommon for people to think the victim of acid attacks were somehow deserving of the attack, which adds to victims’ stigmatization.
• Grossman Burn Foundation in Calabasas, CA has graciously agreed to cover her plastic surgeries and coordinate other medical care, estimated Christine will be in LA for one year (requires multiple surgeries with recuperation time in between.)
• We are looking for: host families (3 month minimum commitment), people who can transport her to appointments at Grossman Burn Foundation, people who can take her out for entertainment (out to dinner, movie, etc.), financial support (cost of airfare, spending money to include food, clothing, entertainment.)
• Questions? Please contact Angie Vredeveld at [email protected]
I have offered up my home as a host family but they are looking for families close to Calabasas, preferably with some medical experience in case there are complications with Christine’s surgery. At the very least they want a family with a car to drive her to the hospital if needed. I don’t own a car and I obviously have no medical experience but I’m hoping that someone who reads this blog will see this and can help or knows someone who can!
Here is a chance to really make an actual difference in someone’s life. So please consider helping Christine and please share this post! I’m sure with our collective reach we can find Christine the assistance she needs!