On The Road Blog
Film Based on ASF’s Work Wins Oscar
Washington, DC – I sat with my eyes glued to the screen for the 84th Academy Awards, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the best documentary short film. On the edge of my seat, I jumped up in excitement when Saving Face, directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, was announced as the winner. The documentary follows two survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan, covering their incredible journey toward recovery and their fight for justice. The film features the work of GFC grantee partner Acid Survivors Foundation, Pakistan (ASF), based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Early last year, I met with Valerie Khan, the director of ASF, at a dinner in Islamabad hosted by Sameena Nazir, the director of GFC grantee partner Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy. I had arrived in Islamabad after a near crash on my plane ride from Delhi to Lahore. Shaken by the experience, I almost didn’t attend the dinner, but I am glad I did. Valerie’s commitment and passion for the mission of ASF were infectious and inspiring. The next day, we discussed ASF’s programs in detail and discovered that GFC and ASF were a very good match. ASF is one of the few organizations in Pakistan providing care and rehabilitation to survivors of acid attacks. The causes of acid attacks include refusal of sexual advances or marriage proposals, land disputes, religious fanaticism, and family revenge, among others.
The organization’s programs include a nursing care and rehabilitation unit that provides rehabilitation services to burn victims, a child protection program that promotes child rights, an awareness campaign called Burning Truth that utilizes art as a tool to bring public awareness and sustainable change to acid violence, and a capacity-building program that works to train other organizations on the rehabilitation of survivors of acid attacks. Additionally, ASF advocates for policy reforms within Pakistan to demand stricter laws for perpetrators and state-sponsored rehabilitation mechanisms for survivors. ASF’s beneficiaries are an excellent example of the vulnerable populations that GFC reaches through its many innovative community-based grantee partners all over the world.