She + Heroes = Sheroes
I recently visited 'Sheroes Hangout' Cafe in Agra. It is a quirky, vibrant cafe with graffiti and colourful paintings - a great place for a delicious snack & coffee. However, what drew myself and my family to the cafe, is that it's run by women who are acid attack victims.
After meeting a couple of these amazing people, I felt saddened and angry that someone could attack an innocent human being so brutally. However, it seemed that anger had no place in this cafe, it felt overwhelmingly positive, happy and resilient.
After visiting the cafe, I did some further research into Sheores. I came across a very touching quote, from a Huffington Post interview with Ritu. She was 17 when she was attacked by extended family, losing an eye and suffering burns to the face.
The beautiful thing about the cafe is that these women are fully independent and progressing with their lives. Their bravery has never stopped astounding me.
After further research, I was upset to find that acid is accessible and cheap in India (A bottle for Rs 50) and only the high profile cases seem to get media or political attention. Not much is done to prevent these attacks though. Acid attacks are part of a bigger problem in India, and that is violence towards women. Domestic violence, honour killings and rape are massive issues and something needs to be done to challenge the perspective of the attackers.
I felt driven to do something for Sheroes Hangout Cafe as a start. As well as a fundraising event this summer, I have created artwork off the back of the 'Abused Goddesses' campaign. I have used the Goddess Durga, a symbol of positive energy against wickedness. I think this is appropriate for the amazing bravery and positivity of these women. And of course, She wears a cape.