My apologies to readers–it’s been too long since I’ve posted here on my blog. We all get into those frenzied busy states and inadvertently push things to the back burner. Well, I pushed the wrong things back, and I’m sorry that Change by Doing got neglected. My world is no less busy at the moment, but I hope to right my priorities and continue to find ways of inspiring, connecting, and informing. Please use this space as a place of dialog, and send ideas or requests for what you want to see here–I truly love hearing from you.
In India, where the cruel and inhumane crime of acid attacks is perpetrated against women with frightening regularity and beyond the reach of current laws, a group of breathtakingly powerful survivors is flying against the wind of tradition and bringing new attention to survivors. In India, at least five women are attacked with acid, usually targeting their faces, every week, and it is rare that they get the immediate medical or legal attention required to begin a long and difficult recovery.
Sheroes Hangout is a coffeehouse and cafe based in Agra (where you’ll find the Taj Mahal), where survivors of acid attacks not only proudly eschew veils that would cover their scarred faces, they work tirelessly to empower women and advocate for desperately needed change. The Hangout has a cafe and a growing donation library of books and magazines, a community radio broadcast program, an activism workshop and meeting place, and a handicraft exhibition space and gallery.
Workshops train girls to use computers and social media for change and expanding education and employment opportunities, teach the community of survivors and supporters about legal rights and routes for judicial procedures (acid attacks are not always prosecuted, and are most often perpetrated by family members—fathers, husbands, brothers…), and cultural programs like film screenings, art classes, poetry, and gender issues.
The Sheroes Hangout is an initiative of Stop Acid Attacks and the Chhanv Foundation in New Delhi and just one program of their diligent work to change laws and support survivors. Due to scant access to care and support, most survivors find no hope and live out their lives as outcasts. The Sheroes are changing that in a big, bold way. Consider lending your support here.
Here is a short video with some of the Sheroes: