RE­BUILD­ING… WITH LOVE & Hope!

Make Love Not Scars, a Delhi-based NGO, pro­vides sur­vivors of acid at­tacks com­plete re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Through rais­ing funds, vo­ca­tional train­ing and aware­ness pro­grammes, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has helped re­build the lives of 60 acid at­tack sur­vivors so far.

Savvy - - Independence Day Special -

“We en­cour­age sur­vivors to ex­press their de­sires and make sure that we can be the cat­a­lyst in mak­ing their dreams come true.” — Ria Sharma

THE ORI­GIN

Ini­tially, Make Love Not Scars was the name of a doc­u­men­tary that 21-year-old Ria Sharma was shoot­ing while study­ing at the Leeds Col­lege of Art, West Yorkshire, Eng­land. How­ever, com­ing to In­dia to meet acid at­tack sur­vivors for the film opened her eyes.

“I re­al­ized that while a doc­u­men­tary may help raise aware­ness, sur­vivors needed im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion. They were of­ten left with­out sup­port since they would of­ten be at­tacked by their own rel­a­tives. I de­cided to start an or­ga­ni­za­tion to pro­vide sur­vivors the med­i­cal aid and le­gal as­sis­tance they needed,” says Ria.

THE DRIVE

Ria works to pro­vide ad­e­quate le­gal aid for acid at­tack sur­vivors. She avers, “We work closely with the Hu­man Rights Law Net­work in en­sur­ing that the sur­vivors re­ceive in-time com­pen­sa­tion from the Gov­ern­ment, plus the best le­gal as­sis­tance for court hear­ings.”

THE IM­PACT

Make Love Not Scars’ vi­ral cam­paign #EndA­cidSale gar­nered over 300,000 sig­na­tures on a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing that the Supreme Court en­force its ban on over-the-counter acid sales.

Since its in­cep­tion in 2015, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has helped over 60 sur­vivors with surg­eries and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion across In­dia. Ria speaks proudly of the sur­vivors the or­ga­ni­za­tion has helped, “Our first sur­vivor Mon­ica Singh re­cently grad­u­ated from Par­sons School of De­sign and is still in New York. Our sur­vivor Reshma Qureshi is now a YouTube vlog­ger. She walked the New York Fash­ion Week, trav­elled to Le­banon for an in­ter­view with Nawam Kalaem, and se­cured a book deal with Pan Macmil­lan for her mem­oir to be writ­ten. Mamta is an as­pir­ing co­me­dian and shot a video with Tan­may Bhatt with Buz­zfeed In­dia.

“Our aim is to up­lift whole fam­i­lies and change the des­tiny of the gen­er­a­tions to come. We en­cour­age sur­vivors to ex­press their de­sires and make sure that we can be the cat­a­lyst in mak­ing their dreams come true,” sums up Ria.

The acid at­tack sur­vivors at work

The acid at­tack sur­vivors

Ria Sharma with acid at­tack sur­vivors

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