“Growing up, I never thought of myself as brave or strong. In fact, I would run out of the room at the sight of a needle. I hated visiting hospitals, hated looking at medical apparatus and hoped I never ever have to visit the operation theatre. I couldn’t even handle the smallest of injuries.
At the age 18, I faced one of the cruelest and most painful acts a person has to go through. My neighbour, a young boy constantly harassed me by proposing marriage every time he saw me. He threatened to kill my father if I didn’t say yes. I didn’t make much of it and decided to just ignore him.
One day when I was working in the kitchen, he snuck up from behind me and splashed concentrated acid on my face. I started shrieking with pain. My father, who was some distance away, immediately came running to see me lying on the floor, writhing in pain. After driving the boy out of the house, he rushed to the police station to file a complaint. It wasn’t until 10 o’clock that night that I was taken to hospital, six hours after the attack. It was too late for doctors to do anything, by then most of my face became disfigured.
You’re probably thinking this is where it all ends for me. No, I didn’t let that happen. I moved to Delhi and had over 40 surgeries performed on me. I got in touch with Make Love Not Scars, they helped me find my lost confidence. I felt motivated. I then went on to complete my 10th and 12th standard education. I took a class in basic computers. I made and sold carry bags out of recycled newspaper. And even I overcame my fear of hospitals and worked as an O.P.D. registrar at a hospital!
Today, I no longer see myself as a fragile young girl. I’m ready to reclaim my life. I want to work and make a living for me and my family. That’s why I’m part of Skills Not Scars to get acid attack survivors employed. A job will give me the confidence to rise above my situation and help me become an active part of society.
Make Love Not Scars in association with The Logical Indian, Meer Foundation, Humans Of Bombay and Hyper has launched a campaign #SkillsNotScars to provide jobs to acid attack survivors. You can help Archana and many like her to get a job, by visiting the website here: http://makelovenotscars.org/skills/