Over the 3 years of its time Sheroes Hangout in Agra has catered thousands of guests from several parts of the nation and overseas. The number of beneficiaries at the Agra café has grown from 5 to 10 acid attack survivors. The impact of the café can be manifested in the lives of 5 survivors – Rupa, Ritu, Dolly, Neetu and Geeta with whom we started the project. The other survivors who joined later on also feel inspired and motivated to join the group of the existing ones. We are making progress as a team together. As the girls recover from their major injuries, we help them in their employment. The girls and women often face difficulties in achieving employment after the attack.
The acid attack survivors of Sheroes Hangout cafe in Agra need your help. The road widening process in the city is forced 10 women of cafe to find another option to run their families. Since the initiation temporary evacuation late last year, Sheroes now runs its business in a hastily erected building. The evacuation has disrupted the business of the cafe in last six months. With the evacuation now looking permanent, Sheroes needs a new space to run the centre. The cafe, located close to the Taj Mahal, has become a popular joint among tourists who visit the Taj city. It is increasingly becoming a talking point on social media sites, attracted Chief Minister of the state, Prime Minister of Italy, First Lady of France and many eminent celebrities across the globe.
Since moving from Stop Acid Attacks online campaign in 2013 to Sheroes Hangout cafes in 2014, we have become more involved and we short of seen the world of activism a bit more but with a different approach. We wanted to discuss the issue with everyone because it’s something we all have been thinking about a lot, thinking about whether activism is important, whether it’s something that’s really necessary, there was a need of discussion on this kind of violence. With more such cafes, we want to help as many acid attack survivors as we can. Although their lives have been marked with pain and hardship, these women are banding together to support fellow victims, and to make these attacks a thing of the past. We feel everyone has a potential to succeed. it's just how you hone and help them that matters.
The concept of the cafe is unique in the sense that no rates are fixed by the women who host the guests. We wanted to create a space for the acid attack survivors who face a lot of problems because of their faces. The cafe serves food and beverages, but also serves as an information hub— with a library, a space to hold events, an activism workshop, a one point centre & help desk for the victims of violence and an exhibition space where the women can display their artwork. The income through sales is used for paying salaries and meeting operational expenses. The project works on a self-sustainable model.
At Sheroes cafes, we protest against the wrongs, the way women & weaker sections of the society are being treated. It is important because women have nitric or sulphuric acid thrown onto their faces for some perceived transgression, rendering them permanently disfigured, causing extreme physical and mental health damage, and sometimes even killing them. At both the centres of Sheroes Hangout, we’ve been involved with many activists communities, particular group in the area of women empowerment, promoting humanity. We work with the youth who have enormous chance to change the mindsets.
We have more than 40 acid attack survivor women who are benefited by the cafés in Agra and Lucknow. Unfortunately, the first café that was started in Agra in 2014 has been demolished in the month of July last year. It is located in the Fatehabad road of Tajganj, falling in the vicinity of the very famous Taj Mahal. The café has been demolished because the National Highway Authority of India planned to widen the Fatehabad road, that is, increasing the lanes of the road. The café was established on a strictly limited budget in a rented store that was once a shoe shop. At present we are left in a moment of exasperation with very little space left for us to serve the visitors at the café. For those of you who have visited the café earlier would have noticed the wall with the iconic graffiti at the entrance has also been demolished.
We feel sad and anxious to plan the coming days of the project. The next step is that we are planning to relocate the café to some other location soon.
Sheroes Hangout, an initiative by Chhanv Foundation has been awarded with Nari Shakti Puruskaar 2016 by the Majesty of India, President, Mr. Pranav Mukherjee. With this Sheroes has received many global recognitions like BOBS award for best of online activism by Deutsche Welle, Germany.
Why do we think Sheroes Hangouts are important?
- Sheroes are important because when survivors finally get rid of operations and hospital admissions they keep high hopes of getting a job to overcome the dept of the hospital expenses. They live with disabilities and find there are very few opportunities out there to them. At that very moment Sheroes project help them getting a good job that can also support them in their trough journeys. There are more than 40 women acid attack survivors who are employed at the Sheroes Projects.
- Sheroes are important because it allows the acid attack survivors to get exposure that they get that they might not have got otherwise.
- Sheroes are important because the very first time in the history this cafe project has emerged as a space were people got an opportunity to understand the problem in society and the survivors want to share this information with other people. Cafe is a platform to inform the masses a problem and a way to create greater social change.
- Sheroes are important because most of the ways to protests are often too old. The way the protests work, they disrupt, involves chants and signs with bold messages which creates polarity in reactions. At Sheroes cafes, we don’t make people angry, rather we create an opposite effect what we want from ourselves. We try to get people interested and involved.
- Sheroes are important because it is a civil right moment to ensure that people become aware of the violent society that they are living in, a women’s right moment informing people that most of violence are against women.
What we are fundraising for?
To ensure employment to every survivor of acid attack survivor girls and women is next on our objectives. In addition to employment at Sheroes Hangout cafe, the organisation has reiterated its call for concrete steps in terms of building a genuine social and employment plan. New chapters of cafe Sheroes will address the employment needs of acid attack survivors associated with the foundation and simultaneously increase the awareness against acid violence in the country.
The relocation will involve three phases as mentioned below;
- Phase 1
(B) Phase 2
For this phase we will need your support. The major necessities at the new would be as follows;
To make it look as beautiful as the present cafe, we will decorate the cafe not absolutely as the old one but with the originality & new ideas for which the sheroes is known for!
2. Kitchen Set up
There is nothing nicer than a kitchen really made for a cook. Things that are designed to be used always have an innate beauty.
At the new venue we will need various equipments to cook & prepare the food. Definitely we gonna add new eatables to the menu to make sure that each time when our visitors visits the cafe should have amazing experience.
3. Library SetUp
Apart from cafe we have a small library having the quality books, to amplify the same we would setup a big library having more elaborated collection of books from different genres.
4. Sheroes Store
At the cafe a small section has been dedicated to the crafts, jewelleries, garments & clothes which have been made by the acid attacked survivors who are unable to work at cafe but they are willing to be the part of our sheroes squad by working at their home. The new cafe will also dedicate a corner to these girls so that their morals would get never down.
The most important equipment for the cafe. The new venue would need dining furniture, reception counter & a help desk for survivors.
(C) Phase 3
The third phase will include the promotion & branding, Inauguration & Hiring at the cafe.
- Promotion & Branding
Since the cafe was started, it is an abode to many survivors of the acid attack who faced the never recoverable trauma of these heinous attacks. The cafe Sheroes Hangout will be re-inaugurated with number of survivors from pan India who are still unheard are left out in the dark.
The present cafe is in very little circumference but It employs 8 survivors while new cafe will aim to bring more survivors to the cafe to rehabilitate them & ensure they should get all those things which they deserve in their life. In the initial phase a few funds would be required to rehabilitate the new as well as old survivors.
Remembering few lines said by lauren klarfeld;
“People are guests in our story, the same way we are guests in theirs. But we all meet each other for a reason because every person is a personal lesson waiting to be told.”
Our guest indeed mean a lot to us. After the day of its beginning, the sheroes hangout Agra has hosted approximately more than a lakh of guests from all over the nation & worldwide like Former Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Paolo Gentiloni, The First Lady of Germany Ms. Elke Budenbender, Hollywood actor Jason Isaac (acted as a very famous Luisis Melfoy in Harry Potter), Former Ms. Universe Great Britain 2016, 17 Ms. James Lee Faulkner, Ms, Anna Maria, Miss Universe Great Britain Ms. Dee Ann Rozers, Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, MP Ms. Dimple Yadav, UP Cabinet Minister Mr. S P Singh Baghel, Bollywood Director Umang Kumar, Singer Mrs. Sona Mahapatra, Former CEO of Facebook India Ms. Kirthiga Reddy etc are name to few.
Why should you contribute
We need your support and encouragement to help us continue running the Sheroes Hangout project in Agra for the girls whose life significantly sustain on this café. As per the reports of NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau), every year our country witnesses more than 250 acid attacks. There is no rehabilitation program setup by any Government body, one of its unique kind, the cafe Sheroes Hangout is a ray of hope for the survivors of acid attack from all over the country.
Sheroes Hangout has proven to be successful model to fight against the stigmas of women who have survived acid attack. It is a cafe for the masses and mode of livelihood for the distressed women. Being a café, it gives an opportunity to the public to visit and meet the brave women who have managed to survive and shown their courage to fight back the social evils of our society. At the same time, the project also creates an earning opportunity for their dignified service at the café so that they can raise their children and live a life with respect and self-esteem as other women in our society.
The cafe could be imagined in two sections & each one has its own importance, below is the brief description;
- Cafe Sheroes Hangout
SHE + HEROES + HANGOUT = SHEROES HANGOUT
By the word Sheroes, we meant to bring the brave women who fall victim to violence as front runners. They run a business by getting involved in the business in as many ways possible to earn their livelihood, respect and dignity. No matter these girls fall prey to a traumatic violence, the project empowers them to become an earning member in their families which due to stigma is possible almost nowhere in the industry. To remind our visitors of these real-life heroes, we call it in rather feminist derivation as Sheroes.
To the general public masses, it becomes worth visiting a place when it also offers a cup of coffee with snacks with friends. That is the style of hangout we do in our society. As a café we also try to deliver that environment to people where they can just walk-in with their friends or make some more over some regular food served in any fast-serving food restaurant
- “Pay as you Wish”.
- Quality of service
- Overcome the challenges of acid attacks
2. Reach-Out & Welfare Centre
The reach out project is to reach to maximum number of acid attack survivors throughout the country with the help of our chain of volunteers. A volunteer from a specific demographic place can reach to a survivor nearby and bring them to the cafe where the proper documentation would be done. The documentation describes the medical, household, financial, educational, age, local & social status of the any survivor. This research data help us to understand what an acid attacked survivor want from us & of course it helps us to explore more ways to help the survivors.
We are wishing to start initially with a crowd funding goal of 57 Lakhs and seeks your support.
|S.no||Description||Unit Cost ||Cost|
|3||Supply of Electrical||₹15,000|
|4||Air Conditioners (4 Units)||₹1,00,000|
|5||Billing Machine & Software||₹40,000|
|7||Desktop (3 Units)||₹75,000|
|8||Fire Safety Devices||₹10,000|
|11||Sheroes Store Setup||₹2,00,000|
|1||Guest Survivors Visit||₹1,00,000|
|C||Rent & Salary to Sustain for a Year ||₹39,96,000|
|1||Rent (1 Year)||70000||₹8,40,000|
|2||Survivors Salary (12) for 6 Months||18000||₹21,60,000|
|3||Support Staff ||₹9,96,000|
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These women, and sadly many more, have experienced pain and victimisation like no human being ever should. But thanks to their resolve and their will to live full lives, they’re inspiring people across the globe.To help their important movement to end acid attacks and abuse the world over, please SHARE their amazing story, ask friends to contribute!
We seek your kind support to the #Rebuilding of Sheroes Hangout.