December 8th, 2016
[Summary: Know about Reshma and how you can help her and others like her get a job, by visiting the Make Love Not Scars website ]
Reshma, a bubbly 20-year-old, is the daughter of a taxi driver in Mumbai, India. Youngest in the family, she lives with her parents and siblings.
Just like everyone else, she dreamed of studying hard and living her dreams. She wanted to be a teacher and earn a decent living to support her family. But all of those ideas and plans were shattered on 19 May 2014.
Reshma was visiting her sister in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Her sister had recently separated from her husband and was in the process of getting a divorce. One day, her sister’s husband and his friends ambushed them as they were walking near the railway station. Her sister was fighting her husband off and shouted for Reshma to escape. But before she could run, the other two men pushed her to the ground, held her, and poured acid on her face. She was 17 at the time. She became an object of revenge in a patriarchal society where women could be ‘owned’ or ‘destroyed.’
Reshma had burns on the left side of her face and body and lost her left eye completely. She was depressed and suicidal for almost a year after the incident. She lost all hope for life, till she met Ria Sharma, founder of the NGO Make Love Not Scars. After a lot of effort, she finally started believing in herself and found a reason to live.
To ensure there weren’t more Reshmas, she became a part and face of the #EndAcidSale campaign. She released beauty videos on YouTube with a message that it was easier to buy acid than to select the right shade of lipstick. The campaign was a big success. It garnered worldwide attention and awareness.
This was only the beginning. Her biggest success yet was when she walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week 2016 for Indian designer Archana Kochhar, and also for Vaishali Couture.
She believes that her walking the ramp would give all the other survivors also the courage to go out and start living their lives. She wants to give them hope and tell them that beauty is not skin deep, but extends far beyond that. She finally has the confidence to show her face to the world and wants them to have faith in themselves too. As a 20-year-old woman, she has managed to inspire millions of people to push their boundaries and reach for the stars.
Today, Reshma wants to be a Radio Host to spread her message and voice to all the corners of the world. She wants each and every person to feel what she feels, and say to themselves, “I am brave. I am beautiful. I am a survivor.”
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 Reshma and many like her to get a job, by visiting the website here: http://makelovenotscars.org/skills/
Think Reshma is the right fit for your organisation? Click the link above to get all her information and initiate hiring.