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.
Help Make It Happen
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.
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.
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.