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A short, dramatic documentary about ReSurge partner Dr. Chandini Perera’s courageous battle to help Kanchana and other victims of domestic violence heal and start life again after they were attacked, severely burned and disfigured.

Three of our largest programs are in Asia: Nepal and Bangladesh, where we have had year-round Surgical Outreach Programs for more than a decade; and Vietnam, our largest volunteer medical trip program that just celebrated its 20th anniversary. In China, we provide medical education. We also have growing year-round programs in India and Sri Lanka addressing the burn crisis in that region.


  • Population: 150 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 43 percent
  • Per capita total spending on health care (government and private): $27 annually
  • Number of new clefts each year: 4,900
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 700

In 1990, the first ReSurge International surgical teams visited Dhaka. The volunteers quickly determined a pressing need for year-round access to care in the country. There were fewer than 10 reconstructive plastic surgeons for Bangladesh’s 160 million people. Three years later, ReSurge opened a Surgical Outreach Program in Dhaka, with a skilled local plastic surgeon and humanitarian as its leader. To increase the number of doctors who could help, ReSurge partner Dr. Shafquat Khundkar founded Bangladesh’s first plastic surgery residency program, and now there are more than twice as many as when we first started working there. Over the years, Dr. Khundkar and ReSurge have performed thousands of surgeries to correct disabling burns, clefts and hand injuries, and his residents are now able to expand those numbers exponentially.


  • Population: 1.24 billion
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 33 percent, with the richest 20 percent of citizens holding nearly half of the nation's wealth
  • Number of people burned every minute: 13
  • Burn survivors who will be left with debilitating burn scar contractures that can lead to lifelong disability: 280,000/year
  • Productive years lost annually due to burns: 8,466,450
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 500

Every minute in India, five people are severely burned. Many burn victims are left to spend the remainder of their lives suffering from burn-related disabilities, not because they are irreparable, but because their families cannot afford the necessary medical care. Thus far, ReSurge has provided thousands of free surgeries in India and restored patients’ abilities to use their hands to eat, their legs to walk to school and work, or their arms to care for their babies. ReSurge has year-round Surgical Outreach Programs in Dehradun and Jalandhar, with future sites under consideration. We also send volunteer surgical teams to Dehradun each year to provide additional surgeries, medical training and post-operative physical therapy.


  • Population: 30.5 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 25 percent
  • Productive years lost annually due to malaria: 30,423
  • Productive years lost annually due to burns: 73,246
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 2,000

Productive years lost due to fire in Nepal is more than twice the productive years lost due to malaria. Fortunately, Nepal is home to ReSurge International’s first and largest year-round Surgical Outreach Program. After working with ReSurge volunteer medical teams for a decade, Dr. Shankar Man Rai assembled a local team of medical professionals to provide medical services year-round. Now, Nepal’s Surgical Outreach Program provides free surgeries, speech therapy and other medical services to thousands of patients annually. By doing so, more than 1,214 cleft and burn patients are given a new beginning each year. Productivity and hope is restored and approximately 3.1 million sick days are not taken because patients are now able to go to school or to work. This in turn helps Nepal recover $9.8 million in lost wages over the lifetimes of those patients who will now be able to work. Nepal also will be home to the Global Burn Project, a joint project with International Medical Corps to address the neglected global health crisis of burns with prevention, training, treatment and advocacy.

Sri Lanka

  • Population: 21 million
  • Number of new fire burn cases each year: 49,000
  • Productive years lost annually due to HIV/AIDS: 9,506
  • Productive years lost annually due to fire burns: 20,985
  • Number of plastic surgeons: 6

In Sri Lanka and other Southeast Asian countries, many victims of disabling burns receive their injuries as a result of an act of violence. ReSurge International partners with plastic surgeon Dr. Chandini Perera, who runs the country’s only burn unit, with the express purpose of restoring some hope to the lives of women with burn-related injuries. ReSurge provides grants for the education and training of her staff and periodic visiting educator workshops. Over the last eight years, she and her staff have helped heal and empower more than 6,000 acute burn survivors, as well as provided more than 16,000 patients with reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. Her patients are from an unseen world, ostracized and hidden from society because of their disfigurements and disabilities. Perera believes that empowering burn survivors to reenter society will help change social attitudes toward domestic abuse and disabilities.


  • Population: 88.8 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 17 percent
  • Per capita total spending on health care (government and private): $95 annually
  • Physicians per 10,000 people: 12
  • Years ReSurge has worked there: 21
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 500

More than 20 years ago, Vietnam was the poorest country in Asia, but its new government was cautious of foreigners and outside assistance was almost nonexistent. ReSurge International was among the first humanitarian organizations to begin working in Vietnam, and we have been there ever since, providing free reconstructive surgery for children and adults. More than 1,000 volunteers have made 75 surgical team trips to help those who have no other access to care. To improve access, ReSurge has also provided advanced medical education for local physicians. By training local doctors and building their medical capacity, the numbers of patients whose lives are transformed through surgery will continue to grow for generations to come. Overall, ReSurge has provided more than $30 million of medical services to Vietnam since 1990.

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