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