RISE is a US-based nonprofit organization supporting survivors of acid and burns violence around the world.

Our mission

is to activate the potential of survivors and student advocates to realize their potential to create meaningful change.

The name RISE

reflects our dual mission.  The first aspect of our mission is supporting survivors of acid and burns violence around the world.  The accompanying aspect is supporting student advocates in moving from concerned bystanders to active participants in the solution.  In this way, the name RISE reflects our emphasis on personal accountability and transformation, for survivors and advocates.

RISE Board President Ellen Galloway with acid attack survivors Madina  & Ritah Ssanyu, Uganda, 2017

 

Why the dual mission?

From RISE Founder & Director, Dr. Angie Vredeveld: 

“My travels in Africa began in 2009, when I joined a medical team in South Africa, working with locals who needed medical treatment. Later, I traveled to Rwanda and then three times to Uganda. In these countries, I interacted with people who had extremely limited access to medical care and even less access to mental health care. During one of these visits to Uganda, I learned about a woman who needed counseling. She was an acid attack survivor, and she was struggling with going outside of her home. At that time, I knew very little about acid attacks but I was ready to talk to this woman and see how I could help her.  I spent over a year helping get Christine to the US. I never knew how exactly I was going to help her, but I knew that I had a network and a voice and I could use those tools to try. I succeeded in getting Christine pro bono surgeries. From that moment on, I believed in the power of one person to make a difference- because I had lived it. After helping Christine, and hearing that people in Cincinnati wanted to get involved, I decided that founding a formal organization in my community was the best way to increase our capacity so that we could, in turn, increase the capacity of other organizations. And so, I, along with a few friends in Cincinnati, created what is today known as RISE.

One aspect of RISE’s dual mission is amplifying the voices of and providing support to people who are marginalized. We do this by raising awareness about acid violence and providing support through counseling, legal, and medical programs. We also developed the Artisan Marketplace where we provide a retail market for survivor crafts. The ability to earn their own money and provide for themselves and their families gives survivors a feeling of empowerment, and empowerment is important to RISE.

We believe it is equally important for people in our community to feel empowered and to get involved as activists for change. We provide them practical opportunities to do this. Supporters of RISE have hosted craft sales. Supporters from the medical field in Cincinnati have donated medical supplies to RISE. We have created partnerships between the University of Cincinnati and Uganda Christian University to work together on projects to help acid survivors in Uganda.

I want people here in the US and in our community in particular, whether they are a professional, a college student, a seventh grader, or someone who is retired, to feel empowered. This experience has shown me that most of the time, when people fail to take action, it isn’t because they don’t care. It’s that they don’t know what they can do to help. At RISE, we work to dispel this myth. If you want to help but don’t know how, then reach out to us! There has never been a time when someone wanted to help and we couldn’t find a use for their skills. Everyone is valuable. Everyone has the ability to create change. We need people like you. You are the second aspect of our dual mission. The hope of RISE is that Cincinnati becomes a city of people who respond to human rights atrocities in proactive ways as one united front. Please join us in these efforts.”