Delhi-based NGO, Chaanv Foundation, has been relentlessly working for the betterment of acid attack survivors since 2014. They believe in providing equal opportunity to the survivors, along with good quality treatment and care. Towards this mission, the Foundation has set up a one-of-a-kind fundraising initiative, The Mega Medical Treatment Drive, to ensure free treatment to all acid attack survivors.
Acid attacks are designed to cause serious harm and injure victims rather than kill them, thus causing severe and prolonged psychological trauma and physical suffering. They sustain permanent disfigurement, subsequent infections, often even blindness in one or both eyes. Surgeries don’t guarantee a complete cure, because acid can cause skeleton damage or organ failure. It is impossible for them to go back to life as it was before the incident.
Post the attack, many survivors avoid social interactions and live as outcasts. They often face discrimination and are shunned due to their disfigured appearance, making it difficult to pursue employment, or even rent a home. A study has also reported that a third of the survivors in India suffer from extreme mental trauma, anxiety and depression.
However, rehabilitation becomes difficult as cosmetic surgeries and treatments are expensive. There are also wide discrepancies between cities and towns when it comes to care. Specialised treatments may be available in only a handful of hospitals across the country, and one has to travel hundreds of miles to receive them. Many times, people give up hope and never receive treatments.
Chaanv Foundations aims to address this very issue through its treatment drive, in an effort to deliver better-quality treatment, medication, and surgeries to survivors, through the funds raised. Medical procedures are lengthy and necessitates numerous hospital visits as well as resources - resources that these survivors often do not have.
Regional medical care centers and hospitals in India are inadequate and unequipped. With nearly 70% of acid survivors hailing from economically weaker backgrounds, they cannot bear the costs of outsation stay and treatment. Government hospitals don't have basic first response facilities such as first-aid, diagnosis or dressing that they can access, either.
From the insight that they have gathered during all their years of work, the Foundation's reports conclude that one surgery costs approximately INR 1.5 L to INR 2 L. Assuming one survivor will undergo at least 3 surgeries during their drive, an estimated budget of INR 50 Cr can ensure 3 surgeries to at least 1,000 survivors in the time span of the next 3 to 5 years.
In it's 8 years of operation, Chaanv has been fighting to eliminate acid attacks and other forms of burn violence, as well as protect survivors' rights. They have redefined rehabilitation, by advocating for medical assistance, legal aid, education, employment and other opportunites for survivors of acid attacks.
Furthermore, through their campaign 'Stop Acid Attacks', they are engaged in research, tracking acid attack cases and compiling data to understand the situation of survivors. They're also actively campaigning to bring about legislative reforms to curb the heinous crime and uplift survivors.
Chaanv Foundation hopes for more and more helping hands to join them in their efforts to provide a normal life to acid attack survivors.