Thursday, May 27, 2010
Kidney Kids--Providing dialysis machines and treatment for children--Don't belittle the humble ring pull Stewart Sloan*
There are branches of Kidney Kids in many countries of the world.
The concept behind this not for profit organisation is to provide vitally needed medical support for children suffering renal failure; they also, perhaps equally importantly, arrange for emotional support and information for their parents by parents who have been through it themselves. This is done through counseling, educational materials and social events.
No one can understand the commitment in both time and money involved in seeking treatment and the accompanying exhaustion if they have not experienced the grief of having a close relative, whether a child or an adult, suffer renal failure.
Caregiver burnout is a real threat. Dialysis is required up to three times a week and must, under no circumstances, be missed. This places tremendous pressure on the parents and relatives of patients. A helping hand to take the patient for treatment on just one of these days each week is more of a blessing than many of us would realise.
In Hong Kong a locally based businessman has taken an active role in providing assistance to one of the Kidney Kids branches, Kidney Kids of New Zealand.
Colin Barlow, a New Zealander himself, is a dental technician by trade and several years ago on a visit to his home country came into contact with Paul Norfolk, the Chief Executive of Kidney Kids of NZ Inc. Colin learned that one way to take an active part in assisting was to collect ring pulls from soft drink (and beer) cans (Kan Tabs). These are sent to New Zealand where they are sold for scrap and melted down and the money received goes to the purchase of dialysis machines and the cost of treatment. (In a local event in New Zealand a load of aluminium ring pulls and screw caps weighing 1,369 kgs brought in NZ$ 2,464). Colin put the word out to his friends and the ring pulls started pouring in from individuals and restaurants and bars. Now Colin, with the assistance of Air New Zealand sends packets of up to 20 kgs back to New Zealand on a regular bas is.
Lots of little bags of ring pulls add up to a big box when donated regularly. To donate ring pulls in Hong Kong please contact Stewart at email@example.com or Colin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Elsewhere please refer to the websites below:
*Stewart's wife Quirina died in December last year after a five year battle with renal failure.
** To see the latest issue of this News Letter please see: http://newsletters.ahrchk.net/hrc/docs/AHRC-ART-053-2010.pdf
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This article was uploaded by the Asian Human Rights Commission.
[AHRC Article] ASIA: Vitriolage -- the horror and injustice of acid attacks
May 13, 2010
An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission
ASIA: Vitriolage -- the horror and injustice of acid attacks
Baseer Naveed and Stewart Sloan
"Acid will be thrown on the faces of women and girls who step out of their houses without covering their faces… People who fail to comply with these orders will themselves be responsible for the consequences."
This was the announcement made by the Baloch Ghaeratmand Group; until recently a little known fundamentalist group in Pakistan that has carried out their threat on several occasions. Their attacks have resulted in the victims suffering inhuman pain and unimaginable mental anguish. Despite strikes by the citizens and demands that action is taken, the government has done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice, nor have they done anything to prevent future attacks.
A recent press release by Women without Borders left no doubt as to the effects, both immediate and following an attack:
If the victim survives, the effects of acid attacks are life-changing. Acid burns through eyes, skin tissue, and bone. Usually, the victims are left blind and with permanent scar tissue. Their bones are often fused together—jawbones sealed tight, chins locked to chests, hands left permanently contorted in the position they held as they tried to deflect the splash. The psychological scars are even worse. Depression, anxiety, shame—these would be part of the emotional aftermath of any scarring injury, but victims of acid attacks are also often ostracized by their communities and even held responsible for incurring the attack they suffered.
Acid attacks, of which the victims are invariably women, happen in several countries of Asia. Sadly, very little is done to prevent them and even less to bring the perpetrators to justice. They are done for religious reasons and as acts of revenge and sometimes as acts of mischief. There were several recent incidents in Hong Kong when bottles of acid were thrown into crowded shopping areas from buildings overhead. The police reacted quickly and have arrested at least one man but it is feared that not all of the attacks were carried out by the same person.
In Thailand acid attacks are frequently the result of revenge attacks by housewives who are convinced that a certain lady is having an affair with her husband. In June 2007 a mother and daughter were charged with throwing acid in the face of a 23-year-old woman because they believed she was having an affair with the mother's husband. Until legislation was introduced to control its sale, acids and other corrosive liquids could be purchased on the street. It is still available on the black market.
Asia and South East Asia however, are not alone in suffering these attacks. While the majority of attacks in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are carried out for religious reasons, in the west it is usually for revenge. Regardless of where they happen, the attacks come without warning and there is little or no defence against them. The acids used, either hydrochloric or sulphuric, eat through clothes, flesh and bone almost instantly. The only course of action, which must be taken immediately, is to wash the affected areas with water. As most attacks happen in the street this is unlikely to happen, allowing the effects of the acid to run their course.
There are several organisations, international and local offering assistance to victims of acid attacks and these are listed below. The following poem by Airyn R. Lentija highlights the feelings of desolation known by the victim.
Airyn R. Lentija
Just as my scarred hands hold these rails
so the tiny drops
of my faith make me live, too.
I, who never asked for this blindness,
The scarring of my face and body that
erased my existence to the real world...
in fear of the stigma and of prejudice
that bubbles from the mouth
of the community I once belonged to.
I am a mother turned into a baby,
I am a teenager who forgets how it was to be a teenager...
I am a lively lady that used to enjoy the company of my peers...
A victim of vitriolage,
I am shunned now...
and relive the vivid memories that lift me
to another level of distress, of such agony,
that my mind almost shut down,
a psychologist for in-depth intervention,
A brilliant mind may give a hand
to restore my damaged skin tissue;
Yet I will never be free
from the memory of such pain,
nor will I be Me again...
Note: This poem will also be published under the title: Testimony of Acid Attack Woman Victim.
The three pictures below show a victim before the attack, during treatment and more recently, tying hard to get on with her life.
The Acid Survivors Foundation--Bangladesh-- http://www.acidsurvivors.org/
The Acid Survivors Foundation—Pakistan-- http://acidsurvivorspakistan.org/
The Acid Survivors Trust—Canada-- http://www.acidviolence.org/index.php/news/acid-survivors-trust-canada/
The Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC)-- http://cambodianacidsurvivorscharity.org/
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
This Article was also posted in the E-Publication Sri Lanka Guardian
Posted on 2010-05-13