Project Title

Pak-Italian Modern Burn Center and Acid Burn Victims Treatment and Rehabilitation Unit, within the Nishtar Medical College and Hospital, Multan

Donor Agency

Govt. of Pakistan & Government of Italy


Pak-Italian Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA)

Implementing Partners

  • Nishtar Medical College & Hospital Multan
  • Smileagain Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
  • Punjab Health Department
  • Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan

Project Timeframe

January 2013 – December 2015

Project Budget

PKR 16,494,678/-

Project Background

Acid violence is a global phenomenon taking place in Asia, Africa, and South America. Acid violence is a particularly atrocious form of violence, usually occurring, with regard to Pakistan, in domestic settings and most often directed against women and girls. Acid is cheap and freely available in cotton-growing districts of Pakistan, particularly in the Saraiki belt of southern Punjab and Sindh. It is used as a tool of violence, usually directed at the face of the victim.[1]

Cases related to Acid Violence are globally increasing with 43 cases in 2009, 55 cases in 2010, and 150 cases in 2011, and 110 cases in 2012.[2] Acid can be thrown for a variety of reasons, such as a domestic dispute, refusal of marriage/sexual advance, suspected infidelity, family feuds, or land/business disputes. The effects of acid violence include serious physical harm such as loss of eyes and limbs, corrosion of organs, and subsequent infections as well as social ostracism. Throwing acid on someone, therefore, not only means destroying their face but also their life. Despite the horrific nature of this crime and the relevant legislation passed in this context or punctual measures, there are still very few adequate services available for victims. There is also a lack of implementation of the legal framework available for the survivors, which stops them from enjoying their basic constitutional rights and from being granted justice.

Project Objectives

This project and its component aims:

  • To specifically assess the needs of acid/burns survivors in terms of rehabilitation;
  • To ensure that acid/burn survivors receive relevant psycho-social support to reintegrate into their community as proactive and self-confident citizens;
  • To ensure that acid/burn survivors access education, vocational training, job placement and microcredit to improve their livelihood, facilitate skills dissemination;
  • To provide legal aid (advice, proceeding, follow up) to acid/burn survivors so that they can access justice;
  • To create public awareness against the custom of throwing acid on women/men in order to prevent such incidences, by conducting a campaign to prevent and curb acid attack and gender-based/domestic violence through advocacy, lobbying, and awareness-raising with major stakeholders, government representatives, elected representatives, civil society; and
  • To promote the project as a model for potential duplication.

Project Outcomes and Activities

  • Social Rehabilitation Center (SRC):

Construction of Social Rehabilitation Center from design to tender and until the building is handed over

  • Needs of acid survivors are identified:

Conducting and dissemination of a broad-based study on the profiles of acid survivors in Pakistan, specifically identifying their needs to optimize rehabilitation strategies

  • Specialized, trained staff is available to ensure psycho-social support to acid survivors; acid survivors follow a path of psychological rehabilitation and social reintegration (SRC-related activities)
  • Carry out training courses for dedicated staff for acid survivors; capacity building for 10 psychologists, nurses, volunteers, peers (acid survivors)
  • Provision of capacity building of 10 psychologists on therapeutic methodologies with special emphasis on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a new psychological technique that has proven very effective with acid survivors
  • Organization of two events, a puppetry show, and a theatre play in a university or a school with the involvement of acid/burn survivors in both
  • Provision of capacity building for 10 caregivers/volunteers (acid/burn survivors)
  • Provision of some counseling by social workers to Acid survivors


  • Acid survivors receive education and training and have access to microcredit (SRC-related activities)
  • Provision of capacity building for 10 caregivers/volunteers to provide literacy courses
  • Provision of ongoing sensitization of 10 caregivers/volunteers on quality-oriented production and market-oriented production for vocational training
  • Addressing vocational courses (on need basis) either in their own district or in the SRC by social workers
  • Provision of microcredit financing to these patients after vocational training (if needed) so that they can start their business on a small scale, interest-free, with a mechanism proved successful with other micro-credit projects
  • Facilitate the employment of the acid survivors through labor market research and networking


  • Survivors have access to justice
  • Establishment of a legal cell in the SRC in liaison with ASFP network of 25 pro-bono lawyers
  • Organization of 2 seminars with lawyers, medico-legal officers, and law enforcement agencies on citizens’ rights (20 participants each)


  • Public opinion and Public Institutions are more conscious of the problems of acid attacks
  • Organization of one awareness campaign against acid/burn violence and promotion of new legislation
  • Organization of four seminars to sensitize nurses, lawyers, medico-legal officers, doctors, law enforcement agencies, civil society, elected representatives, and government agencies about the need to implement CEDAW, CRC and pass ACCPB at a provincial level
  • Organization of a prevention campaign against gender-based and acid violence through posters development and dissemination
  • Two cultural events organized in Multan


  • The project is used as a model in the country and outside the nation

Carry out the impact study of the project

[1] ASF Situation Analysis on the Acid Burn Phenomenon in Pakistan

[2] ASF Database