STOP ACID ATTACKS
They got attacked with acid when they were so young. By people who tried to disfigure them, to destroy their identity, who thought that they could do anything to women and that they could lead them to darkness and silence.
Today, here they are. They started campaigning in Delhi in 2013 to help and rehabilitate acid attacks survivors. The campaign is called “STOP ACID ATTACKS”. Their action spread out all over India. They go to meet survivors in their families and help them come out, intervene when the police do not take up a complaint and follow up on the medical treatment and the ensuing legal procedure. They also report the news cases to the authorities and the medias. The girls don’t want to hide. They design clothes, they opened a café-restaurant in Agra, they do painting, they want to smile, they have different life projects. They also interact with other minorities as rape victims, LGBT communities, old people abandoned by their families, sharing their strength and experience. They refuse to be called “victims” but prefer the term “fighters”.
Photo shows: Laxmi and Ritu at Chhanv. Chhanv operates out of a three-room flat in Laxminagar, a middle-class area of east Delhi. It is a rare meeting place for all acid attacks survivors, where they come to share joys, sing, dance and joke, without revisiting their pain and anguish. They organize trainings, workshops, counseling and many other programs to support the survivors. Much of this endeavor boosts their self-confidence, powers their self-esteem and sets them on a path to self-reliance. Being a campaign, their attempt is to create a wave, a flow of social awareness and sensitivity, and their continuous engagement through activities at Chhanv keeps this in motion.
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