If you’re looking for a charity to support before January 1st, hopefully this plug will convince you to give to Stand Proud. Stand Proud is a non-profit that works in six cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to:

provide corrective treatment, locally-crafted leg braces, and accompanying rehabilitative services, at no cost to poor families with children who have been disabled by polio or who have similar disabilities, and promote the full integration of disabled persons into society.

The people who work for Stand Proud are a pretty awesome bunch, and have currently helped over 2,500 children and adults access rehabilitative equipment, casting and corrective surgery, pre and post-operative care, and education. Additionally, the people who are employed in Stand Proud’s workshops to create and fit new braces, were rehabilitated by Stand Proud, and now lead typical lives.

Over the past several years, renowned photographer Finbar O’Riley visited Stand Proud sites in Kinshasa, Goma, and Bunia, and his powerful images provide a window into what the organization is all about. Here’s a small selection:

Stand Proud takes children, teens and adults who have been relegated to crawling on the ground, and offers them the chance to walk and reach their full potential. While no organization can undo the damage done to the nerves by the polio virus, Stand Proud works to improve mobility, and to increase the dignity and quality of life experienced by the people they support. That is huge.