A socio-entrepreneurial project established by Chhanv Foundation led under Stop Acid Attacks campaign directly benefitting survivors of acid attacks.
Sheroes Hangout only employs acid attack survivors. It was opened by the StopAcidAttacks team with a mission to provide a safe space for survivors & community to come and discuss feminism and equal rights. Visitors to Sheroes’ Hangout always leave with a sense of fulfillment. It’s not only because of the cutting-edge coffee and delicious snacks the café serves. Opened in December 2014 in Agra, Sheroes’ Hangout started as a crowdfunding project by a group of acid attack survivors at Stop Acid Attacks, committed to ending acts of violence against humanity. Its “pay as you wish” contributions go toward the rehabilitation of survivors of acid
violence in India.
One of the objectives of SAA at Sheroes’ Hangout is to provide skills training in the subject that
each survivor was interested in learning. The cafe also houses a library, a community radio hub and a boutique corner that showcases Rupa's work. The Taj Mahal may be one of the world’s top architectural wonders, but just a half mile away, a new destination is gaining attention: Sheroes’ Hangout.
HOPE OF CHANGE
We want to bring an end to this donation system and do not want to continue this for long. So we are trying to open up cafes and boutiques for the survivors as a mean of their daily bread. This would also act as rehabilitation for the survivors
WHY ENTERPRENEUSRSHIP ? WHY SHEROES?
It may look small, but change has started to happen. The Sheroes’ Hangout in Agra, is a heartwarming story of the significant transformation that is taking place in the lives of these young girls and those responsible for putting it together. Ritu, Rupa and Neetu and most of others no longer hide their faces. They wear it like a medal, smiling proudly and confidently. They pose for camera in front of the “selfie point” outside the café. Often, acid attack survivors are charged with provoking their attackers. It is strange because the pain inflicted upon Ritu, Rupa and Neetu was caused by a close relative. The acid thrown on them shattered their lives, but they refuse to break. The Sheroes, our heroes.
Strangely, instead of the attacker being punished or banished, they are cast out into a dark corner,face covered and invisible to the world. In many cases, like that of Lakshmi, the attacker even tried to move on and got married while on bail. People wear masks mostly to hide their motives,to resist the society from prying into their mindscapes. But what of those who are forced to hide behind masks by the society they are supposedly a part of? Where do they go to find succour? In a world where your face increasingly decides your brand value, those whose faces get scarred beyond recognition will invariably be pushed to the bottom of the heap. Once scarred such a girl is generally expected to languish behind closed doors for the remainder of her life. For, who will marry a woman with a burnt face while arranged marriages continue to find takers and lover-boys write paeans on their beloved’s ‘blue eyes’?
NECESSITY OF SHEROES HANGOUT?
ABOUT STOPACIDATTACKS CAMPAIGN
For the past three years, since its inception as a Facebook campaign on March 8, 2013, SAA has connected with more than 300 acid-attack survivors and has guided and supported them with their legal fights, medical aid and emotional battles. The campaign is supported completely through crowd-funding and also runs Chhanv (shelter), a three-bedroom home that provides free food and lodging to every acid-attack survivor who is in New Delhi for treatment. Not long after Stop Acid Attacks came into being in March 2013, Chhanv Foundation followed in May next year, where acid attack survivors were were the board of directors. Out of this journey towards rehabilitation was born Sheroes’ Hangout.
However, despite our continuous campaign to stop acid violence, such attacks are becoming more and more common with 309 reported cases in a year (NCRB year 2014) keeping the fact in mind that many incidents go unreported, especially in rural areas. Women and girls are afraid to speak out against the attacks and gender-related injustice as this leads them to being targeted for attacks. These horrific stories happen every day, including women from poorer areas as well as well-educated, wealthy areas.