Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – Greek philosopher Plato
Acid, a corrosive chemical, is a substance whose illegal and criminal use has increased manifolds over the last several years. Many girls and women have faced the brunt of spurned lovers/ one sided affair/ family members by becoming the victim of acid attacks which has not only scared their faces and bodies but also destroyed their confidence.
But a group of five acid attack victims have defied the convention and come out in the open, baring their acid attack-scarred faces to work at a cafe in Agra – Sheroes Hangout.
The cafe is run entirely by acid attack survivors. Empowering all the victims of the horrendous acid attacks, Sheroes begins serving its customers every morning, cheerfully.
The cafe has a mother-daughter duo – Geeta and Neetu. Geeta’s husband had thrown acid on them way back in 1992. He had also attacked his second daughter who later died. But Geeta and Neetu survived and today as a testament to the fact that nothing is impossible if one has confidence and get the right kind of support.
Photographs of acid attack survivors are pinned up on the cafe walls and even the exterior is full of graffiti acid attacks. The cafe also houses several other attractions including a feminism library, a handicraft and art exhibition centre. There is also a documentary screening area in the Sheroes Hangout.
Sheroes Hangout is an attempt to foster self-confidence among the victims and enable them to lead a life of dignity and happiness. It is impossible to make them completely forget the tragedy they have faced but it certainly is possible to find a way out to make them live a normal life.
The cafe in Agra opened near the Taj Mahal on Fatehabad Road in October 2014 but was formally inaugurated two months later on December 10, 2014. The cafe celebrated its second anniversary in December 2016.
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