Kanchana is a bright young nurse in Sri Lanka. She graduated eleventh out of 30,000 nursing students in her country and is dedicated and excited to pursue her dream helping patients. Where she is today is a far cry from where she was a few years ago.
During her first year in nursing school, someone threw acid on her while she was on her way to class. The violent practice is common in her region of the world; most women are targeted for their beauty, out of jealousy, or for refusing romantic advances.
Not only did Kanchana have to undergo painful surgeries, hair loss and social stigma, but she also had to fight to stay in school, as the administrators thought that her gruesome appearance might disturb the other students, as well as the patients. Dr. Chandini Perera, ReSurge International’s partner in Sri Lanka, performed many of her surgeries and fought for her to continue with her nursing studies.
Kanchana, now healed, works as a nurse at Perera’s hospital, after another fight with hospital administrators who believed her scars would disturb the patients. Kanchana’s smile and efficiency are doing just the opposite; she is telling her story when asked, and so many patients have stories of their own.
Kanchana is having an empowering effect on those she meets and is raising awareness about violence against women and the discrimination against those with disfigurement and disabilities.