On account of International Women’s day, team Urban Tree has meticulously chosen some great women achievers of our country. As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on March 8, this is a series of blogs that feature those strong women of India who have made their way up to become successful by breaking stereotypes!
It is a sad fact that acid attacks still occur in India and most of the time it is women that are the victims. Based on the Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI), 349 people, (women mostly), have had acid thrown on them last year. This is three times higher than in 2013 and nearly four times higher since 2010. As if things could not get worse, according to the NGO, less than half of these attacks come to light.
Rupa’s step-mother in 2008 poured acid on her face while she slept in her house in the village by Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Rupa was 15 years old at the time. The unimaginable pain and trauma the acid carried crept into her dreams, her childlike spirit, and the belief of a better future.
She now stays with her uncle who came to her rescue during the incident. Her uncle fully bore the cost of her surgery and treatment, but with the damage done, her state of depression continued. It was around that time she first heard about the ‘Stop Acid Attack Campaign.’ Rupa then met victims like herself and through that she got rigorous training and counselling. She is a fighter and not a victim and soon she too can live a normal life.
Currently, Rupa runs a boutique at the Sheroes Hangout. This is a café found by the Taj Mahal, Agra, run by Rupa and four other girls who have all survived brutal acid attacks. Instead of giving in to victimhood and staying hidden, these women decided to lead a normal life and also have their own career. The clothes worn by the women here at the café are all designed by Rupa, who is loved and respected. When the team from YourStory about her plans, Rupa smiles and said “Eventually, I want to start a skill development school for women and train many more girls to become financially self-dependent. This will not only help them earn greater respect in the society, it will also help them gain self-confidence.”