Against all odds!
Regenerating back into the society after an acid attack, is among the hardest things one can ever imagine. This terrible torment not only destroys them physically but immensely shatters their confidence as well. An acid burn victim, undoubtedly dies a new death every single day.
Reshma Qureshi had a similar story. Two years back, when she was just 17, her brother in law, along with his friends, threw acid on her face. In this horrible attack, Reshma lost her eye and had her face disfigured. After going through several skin graft surgeries and contemplating suicide, she met Ria Sharma, the founder of ‘Make Love Not Scars. An NGO that helps uplift, rehabilitate and guide all survivors of the gender-based crimes. Reshma then became the face of the NGO’s ‘End Acid Sale’ online video campaign. The video that was viewed by around 1.3 million, brought Reshma into spotlight. She has also appeared in YouTube videos, offering beauty tips and make-up advice.
However, this Thursday on 8th September, redefining the perceptions of beauty
and challenging stereotypes, Reshma walked down the runway at New York Fashion week. She dazzled the floor on New York fashion week’s first official day, donning a fabulous floor length cream colored gown. The gown designed by the Indian designer Archana Kochhar had beautiful and colorful embroidered patches of tribal print. Reshma looked absolutely gorgeous and no less professional than the rest of the models!
This initiative was an attempt to put a ban on the sale of corrosive substances which can destroy a girl’s life in mere seconds.
Reshma’s father is a taxi driver and this was the first time she was travelling abroad. She was accompanied by Ria Sharma during her journey.
Reshma’s participation certainly sent a powerful message of hopefulness to all the other acid survivors out there. A message of courage and confidence to the survivors to get back on their feet and face the world. To come out of their self-pity, to stop hiding from the world but rather come out and do whatever they wish. To not let their scars and burn marks define them, but rather to create their future themselves. The night before the show, she said:
“Why should we not enjoy our lives? What happened to us is not our fault and we’ve done nothing wrong and so we should also move forward in life”.
“I want to tell the world – do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things,” she said, according to guardian.
FTL Moda is the fashion production company, which invited Reshma to the fashion walk. This company is dedicated to challenging the stereotypes of beauty in the fashion industry. They feature models with disabilities, amputees, in wheelchairs, on crutches and this time an acid attack survivor. Last year, they invited a model with Down’s syndrome to take part in the fashion walk.
Through this fashion walk, Reshma has sent a powerful message of hopefulness and empowerment to all the girls who have faced a similar adversity in life. She is truly an inspiration for all the acid attack survivors. Reshma says:
“People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective and I don’t want them to look at them like that anymore.” according to guardian.