Every year hundreds of Indian women are victims of acid attacks and reported incidents are on the increase. Very often men throw acid at women who reject their marriage offers or attempts to start sexual relationships. One charity has devised a strategy to help survivors regain their confidence and rebuild their lives.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 Which job do the victims of acid attacks do in Sheroes café?
2 What consequence did the acid attack have for Rani?
3 Why did the boy get angry with Rani?
4 What plans did Rani have for herself at the moment of the attack?
5 Apart from earning a living, what are the victims trying to gain while working at the café?
6 How old was Dolly when she was attacked?
7 What was Dolly's mom's attitude towards her after the attack?
Faces scarred irreversibly, lives changed forever by acid attacks. But these women are very much survivors, not victims, and part of their recovery process is to tell their stories to the outside world.
In the shadow of the Taj Mahal, they found a sanctuary of normality in Sheroes café, set up by a local charity.
Like any other waitresses, they take orders from tables and chat to the steady stream of backpackers who pass through town. Rani, who’s 20, is the newest arrival. The story of her attack which left her blind is all too familiar.
There was a boy. He loved me. It was one-sided love and he used to follow me around. One day he accosted me in the street and tried to force himself on me. I slapped him. That made him angry, so after a few days, he attacked me with acid. My family blamed me. They wanted me to agree to that man and let him do as he pleased. But I didn't want to be involved in the trappings of love or marriage. I wanted to study.
Rani says the women at the café have given her the strength and support she didn’t get from her own family.
Working here at Sheroes isn't just about earning a living, it's also about regaining a life and because many of the women here were scarred when they were very, very young, rediscovering their confidence is part of the key to survival.
These women have already become local celebrities. Here, they're filming a video for the café website. Dolly was just 12 when she was attacked, yet another case of a rejected suitor. She recalls the moment she first saw her face.
After seeing the mirror, I cried and howled and screamed so much. I said things like my face has been ruined and it would have been better if I had died, why did you save me? But my mother told me that I'm still beautiful. I don't cover my face any more. I live my life my way. I like that I have a job here at Sheroes. I like that my parents feel pride in my work and in the fact that I’m standing on my own feet.
As evening falls, Dolly and her colleague chat and laugh about the places they would like to go and the things they want to do. Their advice to other women who've been scarred is try and look forward, not back. Disfigured once yes, but empowered now too.
Naomi Grimley, BBC News, Agra.
2 it left her blind
3 because she slapped him
4 she wanted to study
5 their confidence
7 she has supported her, she feels proud