“Acid can only change our face but not ruin our soul. We are same inside out and we should accept ourselves who we are and live our lives happily.”
An act of extreme violence with the intent to disfigure, maim, torture or even kill the victim, the prevalence of acid attacks in India is a disturbing insight into the horrific consequences a woman faces in India for the simple act of refusing someone’s sexual advances.
And though it does not seem possible, there have been even worse cases – this monstrosity is not just perpetrated by jilted lovers or stalkers, but also by one’s own parent as an extreme reaction to their child being born female.
So what is so positive about all this?
This is where we want to share the story of Anmol Rodriquez. This fearless young Mumbai woman triumphed over the scars left by her father and the painful loss of her mother to emerge as a fashionista and a saviour for many others like her.
A two-month-old Anmol was being breastfed by her mother when her father doused them both with a can of acid with the intention to kill. Why? Because Anmol was a girl and he wanted to get rid of them both.
Once the heinous crime was committed, the father left them both to die. Fortunately, the neighbours came to their rescue and rushed them to a nearby hospital. However, the damage was so extensive that Anmol was left with a completely disfigured face and blinded in one eye while her mother succumbed to the injuries.
Losing her mother and disfigured beyond help, life couldn’t have been any more unforgiving to a two-month-old baby, for no fault of her own. But Anmol was meant for great things and her journey was just getting started.
For the next five years, the doctors and nurses of the hospital took care of her on their own expense. Only after they were sure that her wounds had healed to a certain degree, did they finally hand her over to Shree Manav Seva Sangh, a shelter home for orphans in the city.
This home gave Anmol all the love and care that she was never given until then, but the struggle to mingle with other children always remained.
“I was too young and never understood why I looked different from others at the hospital. But when I came in the orphanage I realised children were different than me. While no one hated me, initially they were scared of my face. Gradually, as we grew older, I made many friends. But outside the orphanage, it was always difficult,” she told The Daily Mail.
Unlike other acid attack victims, Anmol didn’t let her scars to define her and chose to fight for herself through education – and excelled at it. But society’s obsession with outer beauty prevented Anmol from making many friends and this was particularly prominent during her college days.
However, it was her love for fashion and stylish outfits that kept her going. During this time, she would turn a lot of heads throughout her college life with her sense of style.
Feeling that life had been kinder to her while most other acid attack victims would hide away from public life, this positive girl set up a non-profit organisation named Acid Survivor Sahas Foundation.
Her goal had been to help these women get back to normal life through counselling and then employment and Anmol has helped 20 women to clinch jobs so far!
Despite the tragedies that befell her at a young age, you would rarely find a person with as much positivity and resilience like this 23-year-old. A source of inspiration, Anmol aspires to become a model. In fact, she has been offered many modelling assignments and has a huge fan following of over 25,000 subscribers on her Instagram account.
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“I want to become the first commercial acid attack survivor model who can not just promote fashion but also spread awareness that acid does not end life. Acid can only change our face but not ruin our soul. We are same inside out and we should accept ourselves who we are and live our lives happily,” she added.
Way to go girl!
We admire your indomitable spirit and positive attitude to life and truly wish that all of your dreams come true!