Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cafe SHEROES' Hangout - Agra

Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Sunday, October 05, 2014 3 comments

  • Readers' Cafe
  • Activism workshop
  • Handicrafts & Exhibition Space

Sheroes, here, are mostly women who have fought back for life and survival through heinous chemical burns and are now, on a course to define themselves as 'fighters'. Courageous fighters who walk with scars.
And this Hangout is where empowerment of women no more remains a widely funded phenomena, but materialises in form of a readers' cafe, an activism workshop, a community radio hub, and an exhibit space, where works crafted by Sheroes will be on display.
The new wave feminism evolves at the Hangout through critical issues that cripple women and devoid them of equal opportunities. The irony is such issues are abundant in South-Asian cultures, and it is this irony that pushed our Sheroes to set this Hangout here, in the city that boasts of the monument of love.

Sheroes Hangout is an initiative by Stop Acid Attacks campaign that was founded in New Delhi in 2013.  As the idea of this space has evolved from a campaign for acid attack survivors, the ideas of beauty and importance of appearance in society remain the epicentre of discussions and programmes run from here.

Readers' Cafe: You do need to munch on when chilling out with friends. And revolutions, too, are not brought out with an empty belly. So, a tiny cafe serves delicious bites round the hour, along with awesome beverages. The hangout also houses an ever-growing (through contributions) library, so pick your read, before you take the table.

Activism workshopCampaigning for victims of acid attacks helped us realize that most of them come from a background where education is still limited to learning the basics of reading and writing. Using a computer or a mobile phone to connect and create still remains out of reach for many young girls being brought up in miserable circumstances through out the country. The activism workshops at Sheroes Hangout are aimed at training girls to use computers and other gadgets and helping them utilise social media as a real tool of empowerment and outreach.

Programmes based on basic legal awareness, judicial and political procedures, cinema, art & culture and gender issues keep the workshops engaging and lively.

Handicrafts & Exhibition Space: While the handicraft work of our Sheroes is always on display at the Hangout for sale, the exhibition space will provide a venue to many others in the country to come exhibit/perform their skills. The idea is to organize gatherings like poetry and book readings, jewellery and other design exhibits to engage Sheroes in a constructive activity, while also generating funds to run this space.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Acid Attack Fighter Soniya

Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Wednesday, October 01, 2014 1 comment

The most common form of despair is not being who you are” ;  the girl who wanted to be an air hostess is living in darkness since last ten years,  finding a place for herself, fighting with the society and seeking for her identity... Sonia Chowdhary (29) resides in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. She took help of the neighbour Anurag(accused) to buy a cell phone. He bought a stolen cell phone and gave it to her. After few days police rang Sonia and asked her from where did she get this phone.. she told the whole story to the policeman and the accused was in lock up for whole one night. Next day when the attacker was out from lockup, he approached Sonia and asked her to apologise, when she denied to apologise, he just went to her father and had a combat with him. He attacked her on 12th may 2004 just 15 to 20 steps from her place.. She was an employee in VLCC parlour. That day she was walking long down the road, naive of the fact that an evil soul is waiting to destroy her life. The accused threw five litres of acid on the brave lady Sonia. According to doctors she had 55% disfigurement on her body. She is left with never going scars that are given by her ‘bhaiya’.
The accused passed away just after six months of the incident. He repaid for what he did.  But the justice she got wasn’t the one she wanted. Justice does not mean punishment to the culprit under certain sections of IPC but in veracity it means acceptance in society. Lying in DARK she wonders how she will survive now, how she will bear the treatment expenses , while she regularly fights for a daily square of meal.
Her Father Mr. Raghubeer chowdhary ,  was a Tea vendor , he left his little princess in the gloomy world.  The only hand which she used to hold in her grief is now resting in heaven. She is the elder one among all, she carried the responsibilities on her shoulders from a very young age, she was the helping hand to her father in running the home expenditures. She was a mother to her younger brothers and sisters, a friend to her mother and a responsible citizen to our country.  
She was initially admitted to Shankar Lal Hospital, Ghaziabad from where she was referred to Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi.  Over there she was hospitalised for one month and fifteen days and then she told her mother that, “ maa mujhe yaha pr nhi marna, ghr jakr marna hai mujhe, ghr le chalo aaap please” ( Mumma, I do not want to die  here, i want to die at home take me there please!)  After that she was under the treatment of Dr. Bhandari, Lok nayak hospital, Delhi.    
The treatment in Lok nayak hospital was her last treatment.. she is been living with all the soreness without any treatment, she cannot see the  world which  gave her so much, her vision is fading day by day.... she is  survivor of vicious circle of  rejection and refusals.. but she is the only human.. she bleeds when she falls down” but her spirit to live is admirable... she teaches us to live without any fear of failing. She has an experience of 15 years as  a beautician, she runs  a small parlour at her place only from where she arranges money to run her home. She has adopted a girl child and is looking after her like   her mother. She is the girl people can look up to and say “because of you we did not give up”!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Empower Campaign

Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Tuesday, September 30, 2014 No comments

The 'Empower Campaign' is focused around the idea of a pepper spray. On Sunday October 5th we will be launching this campaign at Connaught Place at 9 AM by releasing balloons in the sky as we believe this is a simple and symbolic idea. Through selling these pepper sprays, we hope not just raise funds for Rupa, but also to empower women to protect themselves.  We believe that the need of the hour is for people to know, understand and feel the pain of acid attack survivors. This means educating young girls and women to know that this heinous crime against women continues to prevail. This also means educating and causing a mental shift among young boys and men to learn to respect and protect women. We hope the 'Empower Campaign' will urge society to honor and support acid attack survivors for their courage and determination.

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

We're in process to setup an Boutique for Rupa

Our Goal is to rent a shop for Rupa in a decent locality in Delhi which Rupa can decorate as her boutique. We want to also provide her with the initial capital for her shop so that she can buy the equipment and employ other acid attack survivors to work with her.

Your support could be appreciable for us . 
Help Rupa's dream become a reality. 
Contribute here: Friends in Abroad | Friends in India 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Neetu's mother narrates how they hae survived for two decades with occasional help from people who provide them odd jobs. She, otherwise, finds work as a domestic help in the nearby houses to earn a living for the family.

Neetu is a girl from Agra, Uttar Pradesh, who, as a three-year-old, suffered an acid attack along with another months old infant who died, when her father threw acid on her mother and the sleeping children. That was back in 1992. Neetu has lived with very little vision and grown up with a completely disfigured face for over 21 years. Her mother, too, suffers scars on face and eyes and vision loss. Their story reflects the tragedy that a society becomes in the absence of compassion for the weak and the suffering. It reflects how women lack support from their own families when they are abused in a domestic set-up. While one of her daughters died and the other barely survives, the mother and Neetu continue to live with the same man, without having received any medical or legal help form any one. When Stop Acid Attacks met them in Agra, we realised Neetu's eyes needed an immediate medical examination to check possibilities of vision. We invited them to Delhi and they managed to come a month later. While initial examination showed possibility of retaining some vision in one of her eyes, the doctor at AIIMS, later, suggested operating the eye would be a risk to the minimal vision she has now. Her mother's eye was operated for cataract at the same hospital. They stay at our support centre CHHANV when in Delhi and keep the space lively as the sisters ridicule almost every sentence their mother completes in her rural mother tongue, with speed. Neetu sings and her mother plays the dholak. When in Agra, they survive doing odd seasonal jobs, like making cardboard boxes, during festivals. Her younger sister goes to school. With their limited skill sets and health status, an immediate rehabilitation for the family of three, excluding the accused father who was never charged, could be to get them a small gift or other merchandise store away from Agra in New Delhi and a small space to live in the capital city, where there treatments are under process. Neetu's mother narrates how they hae survived for two decades with occasional help from people who provide them odd jobs. She, otherwise, finds work as a domestic help in the nearby houses to earn a living for the family. The funds we raise for Neetu would be utilised to initiate a small business for the family that helps them sustain independently and for Neetu's initial treatment and medicines. We wish to take her to other ophthalmologists in the country for an opinion on retaining her vision. Neetu, her mother and a younger sister need our support in this never ending struggle against an acid attack that has left them struggling for survival over the last two decades. As compassionate fellow human beings, we must come forward to help this family and create a success story of their lives that defeats the social hypocrisy and stigma they have survived.
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    About Us

    SAA is a campaign against acid violence. We work as a bridge between survivors and the society, as most of the victims of this brutal crime, which is much more grave in its impact than a rape, have isolated themselves after losing their face. Due to ignorance of the government and civil society, most survivors find no hope and stay like an outcast, in solitude. SAA aims to research and track acid attack cases and compile a data to get the actual situation of survivors.

    Our Mission

    We work with partners and stakeholders towards elimination of acid and other forms of burn violence and protection of survivors' rights. The process of justice to an acid attack victim remains incomplete until she gets immediate medical, legal and economic help, along with the critical social acceptance. Our vision is to free India from this crime, which reflects the flaws of our patriarchal society and abusive attitudes. We want survivors to have access to fast justice and fight back the irreparable impact of this crime.

    Support Us

    Any amount you can donate to us, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received and put to good use helping acid and burns violence survivors. Your help could help pay for dressings and medical supplies for recuperating patients. A small help could help survivors with vital physical rehabilitation after an attack, including physical therapy and nursing.

    Click this link to donate for a good cause.

    Join Us

    We welcome all the volunteers to come forward and join us in our camping and contribute in whatever way possible. Please visit the Join Us page for more details.