Salute to the Acid Attack Fighters

Amid this pandemic hit, it is difficult to get the complete mood of festivity, but very essential to spread love and happiness. As a delightful option for Diwali. Dr Sanya Sharma, in association with IIW ( Inspiring Indian Women ) and supported by Bihari Connect UK decided to celebrate Diwali in a way that would truly brighten up lives. This resulted in the conception of ‘Ye Haseen Zindagi’, a fundraising event to support The Chhanv Foundation, India and the Sheroes Café India

Chhanv Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation in India working for the rehabilitation of acid attack survivors. Chhanv Foundation raised the unheard voices of acid attack survivors through its campaign Stop Acid Attacks in 2013.

The event that was staged on the virtual global stage of the Inspiring Indian Women Facebook page; and viewed by over 4000 live viewers was hosted by Dr Sanya Sharma and co-hosted by Nilanjana Paul of IndradhanushKids. Special guests included Honourable MP Mr Virendra Sharma, Dr Anwara Ali, Mr Rohit Vadhwana (First Secretary, HCI), Mr Alok Dixit (Founder Chhanv Foundation), Mr Abhay Singh (Director’s Associate at Chhanv Foundation), Ms Ritu Sani (Acid attack survivor), Ms Pramodini Rout (Acid Attack Survivor) and Rupa (Acid attack survivor).

The show started with Dr Sanya welcoming the honourable guests and lovely audience. This was followed by inspirational talks by Honourable M.P Southall and Ealing UK, Mr Virendra Sharma, Dr Anwara Ali MBE , London East Chairman Conservative Women’s organisation and Mr Rohit Vadhwana. Mr Alok Dixit spoke about the birth of the Chaanv Foundation and its work and vision. 

Co-host Nilanjana Paul then took over and introduced Ritu Sani, Acid attack survivor from Chhanv Foundation. A dramatic representation of her story was shown by dancer Abrita Chatterjee of IndradhanushKids. Ritu came on the stage, and spoke about her childhood, the fateful day of her acid attack and the journey since then. Next was Roopa, once again from the Chhanv Foundation. She inspired everyone with her story of fight and the determination to never give up. Pramodini was the last speaker of the evening. The climax of the evening was Pramodini’s beautiful dance on her favourite Bollywood song and by watching beautiful pictures and videos of her engagement ceremony with her fiancée Saroj. 

The nearly three hours’ event ended with a promise of forever support and working together with The Chhanv Foundation and The Sheroes Hangouts. Acid attack survivor Pramodini Rout was promised a classical dance course and certification free of cost by IndradhanushKids Academy. Vote of thanks was delivered by Rashmi Mishra, Director of Inspiring Indian Women, Dr Sanya Sharma and Nilanjana Paul, Director Indradhanushkids. 

The event was successful in highlighting the sordid story and trauma that these fighters go through and to send a strong message to ‘Ban the sale of Acid’ , ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ ! Their inspiring stories of how they came out of the ordeal touched many hearts. 

Another aspect of this campaign and Diwali Event was the IIW Annual Fundraiser for any Charity, this time it was for Chhanv Foundation. Within a month, IIW achieved its target of 1000 pounds ! 

It was indeed a satisfying feeling in these hard times, celebrating Diwali the festival of ‘Giving’ by spreading joy in this way ! 

In the words of  Reshma kausar Mohideen, an acid attack warrior, 

“I was offered an unwanted proposal,

My only fault was my denial, my refusal.

The best way he could punish me and harm,

Was to mute me forever and steal my charm.

The sick-minded guy did not know,

My soul would never cease to glow.

The deeper he wanted to bury my dignity,

The harder I shall strive to establish my identity.

My Conscience doesn’t allow me to curse or avenge,

My smile and success shall be the greatest revenge.”

With this message the programme which left many a teary eyed, concluded. 

Yes they will rise in this beautiful life ( Ye Haseen Zindagi ) !!

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