(NEW YORK POST) – Defiant survivors of acid attacks in India have braved the runway for a fashion show to raise awareness for the horrific assaults.
One of the models at Saturday’s show said she was afraid to leave her home after she was disfigured three years ago by her brother in law — but this event and others helped her to regain confidence.
“People would say what happened to you?” said Reshma Bano Qureshi, 20, who also appeared at the New York Fashion Week last year, told AFP. “They would say, ‘no one will marry you.’ They’d say, ‘with a deformed face you’re not beautiful.’ But I’m proud and confident of who I am. I want people to know the face is not what makes you beautiful, it is your heart.”
“I am so happy because the other girls had the same opportunity to enjoy the experience that I had before,” she added.
The Saturday show was organized by Make Love Not Scars, a non-governmental organization that helps rehabilitate acid attack survivors and provides medical and legal advice for the victims, Barcroft Media reported.
Qureshi was one of 11 women on the catwalk — 10 of whom were survivors, while the other was a transgender staff member at the hotel.
Tania Singh, vice president of Make Love Not Scars, told Barcroft Media that the event helped bring much-needed awareness to the plight of the survivors.
“The whole country knows what acid attacks are,” she said. “You read these horror stories in the newspapers. But meeting them makes a huge difference. The people in the audience are actually the ones who can make a difference and push for policy change and create awareness.”
“And everyone came to meet the survivors after the show and they all had one question: ‘How can we help?’” she recalled. “So this was great to see how connected everybody felt with the survivors. It was heartwarming.”