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 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 help them that matters.
The concept of the cafe is unique, we wanted to create a space for the acid attack survivors who face a lot of problems because of their faces. 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.
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.
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.
Helps the survivors to overcome the trauma of the acid attacks because food is one thing which act as a catalyst between the society & the survivors. The society which has boycotted them for the guilt which they had never done.
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.
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We seek your kind support.