International Support for Acid and Burn Survivors Canada
International Support for Acid and Burn Survivors Canada (ISABS Canada) is a Registered Canadian Charity (# 81195 3223 RR0001) that exists to provide support to clinics in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Uganda and Nepal. These clinics provide much needed medical and psychological rehabilitation to victims of acid and burn violence.
The role of ISABS Canada is to fundraise throughout Canada, which enables us to allocate much needed funds, to support the victims directly, as well as providing much needed funding to offset operational costs by supporting local in- country initiatives such as awareness campaigns, conferences, social reintegration for victims back into their communities, legal support, and ongoing monitoring and research.
What is Acid and Burn Violence?
Acid violence is a particularly outrageous form of torture which involves throwing corrosive acid at the victims’ faces. This not only causes disfiguration to the victim’s face, but has a catastrophic effect on their life. Acid violence often occurs as a severe form of domestic violence and is most often directed at women, but children are often collateral damage (for example, acid has been thrown on women who were holding their children at the time, causing the children to also be terribly burned) and men may also be among the victims.
The effects of acid violence include serious physical harm (loss of eyes and limbs, corrosion of organs, and subsequent infections such as septicemia and gangrene). Acid survivors are disfigured for life. In addition to the inevitable psychological trauma, survivors also face social isolation and ostracism that further damage their self-esteem and seriously undermine their professional and personal future.
Burn violence often occurs in those countries where access to acid is not readily available. The use of kerosene and gas are often the weapon of choice in these attacks against these victims. The needs for medical and psychological care of these burn victims are the same as those attacked by acid.
Gary Harding /Director
Gary is a retired SaskTel manager, with more than 28 years of experience in the telecommunications field, including positions in Customer Services, Business Office and Credit Services. He is experienced in implementing corporate fund raising activities to support non-profit organizations while working with diverse groups including seniors, disabled persons, and people from other cultures. Gary has experience working in Asia at local Acid Survivors Foundations (ASFs) with victims of acid violence and is the founder of ISABS Canada.
Ronn Lepage /Trustee
Ronn is a Chartered Accountant, a Certified Management Consultant and an Information Systems Specialist. Ronn is a retired partner from Deloitte and has dedicated over 30 years of his career helping organizations to implement systems and improve their processes.
A Chartered Accountant since 1980, Holly is financial professional with extensive experience as a financial advisor and member of senior management teams of companies operating in various industries. She currently runs her own practice assisting small companies with all financial aspects of their business including public company reporting issues, governance issues, assistance with financial statements and budgets, IFRS consulting and other financial matters.
Crystal Giesbrecht/ Trustee
Crystal Giesbrecht has been involved with ISBAS since the winter of 2009. Crystal is a Registered Social Worker and is the Director of Member Programs & Services at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS). She also works on a casual basis at Regina Transition House as a Domestic Violence Counsellor and is involved with the Regina Amnesty International Community Group.
Julie is a Clinical Caseworker at Ranch Ehrlo Society where she works with at-risk youth. Julie has extensive experience working in Mexico with impoverished communities. She has also held the positions such as International Student Coordinator - Mexico; Advanced English Professor - Mexico; Executive Director of a Domestic Violence Centre - Canada; Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Chapter - Canada; Coordinator of Programs for Children at Risk (Health Canada) - Canada; Student Services Worker/ Guidance Counsellor - Canada; and, Crisis Support Worker - Canada. Julie holds a degree in Psychology, Post-Graduate certification in Healing and Treating Trauma and Violence and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Educational Counselling.
Sumith Kahanda, PhD, P.Eng./Trustee
Sumith Kahanda, PhD, is an Environmental Engineer and a community volunteer in Saskatoon. He has a great passion and heart to help people in need around the world. He has been helping new immigrants and international students with their initial settlement. He has been a mentor for internationally trained engineers in the City. His dedication and work for immigrants earned him Top 25 Immigrant Award in 2010. Currently, He is a Board Member of the Saskatoon Open Door Society and Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. He has earned his B.Sc. from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, M.Sc. from Katholieke University, Belgium and PhD from University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Sumith Kahanda is a proud Sri Lankan Canadian.