Photographer: Finbarr O'Reilly. Copyright owned by Reuters:

StandProud Structure and Partners

The name 'StandProud' represents a unique group of organizations that, through common initiatives,  provide medical services and complete support to children and youth living with disabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

We are currently the only organizations offering free orthopedic surgery, mobility enhancing equipment and physical therapy, as well as educational sponsorship to children and youth in the DRC.

StandProud UK is the latest of three StandProud organisations working with disabled children and youth in DR Congo:
  1. ACDF (l┬┤Association Congolaise "Debout et Fier," meaning The Congolese Association "Standing and Proud")
  2. StandProud USA
  3. StandProud UK
ACDF was the first StandProud organisation to be established. It was started in 1999 by a group of concerned disabled Congolese youth. ACDF began by offering basic assistance and supports to the unusually high number of youth and children living with polio related disabilities in DR Congo.

One year later, in 2000, two humanitarian workers based in DR Congo's capital Kinshasa, Dr Jay Nash and Nancy Bolan, established a board of trustees in the USA and registered StandProud as a US charity. StandProud USA was created with the aim of offering financial support, training and assistance to ACDF, monitoring and overseeing the ACDF DR Congo project. A partnership agreement was signed between StandProud USA and ACDF. The organisations continue to work very closely together and a StandProud USA Project Manager is permanently based in Kinshasa offering training, supervision and support to the ACDF project implementers.

While working as StandProud USA's Project Manager in Kinshasa and overseeing the implementation of ACDF's support and assistance projects, Auriel Sarah Eagleton, a UK citizen, began making contacts and fundraising for StandProud in the UK. As UK support for StandProud's work increased and supporters began to request greater involvement with the StandProud project, Auriel and a number of key StandProud supporters in the UK formed a board of trustees and initiated efforts to register StandProud as a UK charity. The UK board of trustees created and signed a Trust Deed on May 18th 2009, thus StandProud UK was born. An application for UK charitable status was subsequently submitted and we hope to obtain UK charity status by the beginning of 2010.

Auriel left her position as StandProud USA's DR Congo Project Manager at the close of 2007 and was replaced by Lisa Seymour, another British citizen. As Auriel had done before her, Lisa became deeply committed to StandProud's work in DR Congo and initiated a number of key contacts in UK companies that wish to offer StandProud generous and regular support. Lisa is in regular contact with the UK board of trustees and will be leaving her position of Project Manager at the close of 2009 when she will be returning to the UK to take up a Masters in International Development and to become a permanent member of the UK board of Trustees.

Thus StandProud UK, StandProud USA and ACDF are each separate organisations with their own governing bodies. However, partnership agreements drawn up between the three organisations enable each to benefit from the experience, expertise and/or resources of the other.

War and a lack of infrastructure in the DRC has left many disabled persons without access to the most basic medical facilities and mobility-enhancing orthopedic equipment.

StandProud and ACDF currently operate six strategically placed brace-making facilities across DR Congo, through which we endeavor to meet the needs of the many disabled youth and children that travel far and wide to access

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