An amalgamation of two words, ‘She’ and ‘Heroes’, The Sheroes Hangout Café is a commendable initiative of Stop Acid Attacks with the aim of empowering acid attack victims. It is located at Fatehabad Road opposite to tha Taj Mahal Gateway.
Run by six acid attack victims, each one has a story to tell. Of them, Rupa was acid attacked by her step mother while she was asleep at her home town in Islam in Mujjafarpur dustrict of Uttar Pradesh. She was just fifteen years old when the unfortunate incident happened. Ritu had been attacked by her family over a property dispute. She clearly recalls the incident when she was attacked in the middle of a busy road at Rohtak and people did nothing but stare while the acid ran down her face burning the skin; as told to CNN IBN correspondent.
Ritu, Rupa and other survivors believe that corporate companies are quite reluctant in recruiting them because of their burnt skin. Sheroes Café has not only provided a sense of confidence and independence, but also means to make both ends meet. Rupa is a designer and the cafe also sells clothes designed by her. The pain might have subsided and numerous surgeries might have attempted to ease out the destruction of the face and may be other parts of the body where the acid might have fallen; nonetheless, the horrific memories linger. The Café runs on the policy of “pay whatever you wish”. The amount collected goes into the legal and medical aid of these victims.
The ambience gives you a sense a happiness and positivity. The interiors of the café is all decked up in graffiti and photographs, each radiating memories. One, is the famous photo shoot of these victims with the fashion photographer, Rahul Saharan that was quite a rage on social media. It also houses a small library that has books on women empowerment and feminism.
The café came about with an initial investment of around three lakh rupees which was raised in the name of another survivor, Nitu. The organization aims at spreading awareness over these attacks by conducting weekly meetings and even put an end to donations by allowing them access to opportunities which can help them earn their bread.
Make sure you visit the place on your trip to Agra.
Copyright image: Scmp.com