An Indian acid attack survivor has walked the runway at New York Fashion Week in a bid to change the conversation around beauty, and give a voice to survivors.
In 2014 Reshma Qureshi, 19, survived a concentrated sulfuric acid attack from her brother-in-law and two other men.
She has since been the face of rehabilitation charity Make Love Not Scars fronting a global campaign to try and #EndAcidSale in India.
Qureshi had never left India before and suffered depression and suicidal thoughts following her brutal attack that left her disfigured and without one eye. When FTL MODA contacted her to join their #TakeBackBeauty campaign she was moved to tears when she learned she would walk the runway.
Overwhelmed and excited, she joined the movement to empower other survivors that it is possible to “lead normal lives’ reports the Independent.
Opening Indian designer Archana Kochhar’s show, Qureshi walked barefoot with a beaming smile and looked every bit the model in a white long-sleeve gown with embroidered details.
“This walk was important to me because there are so many girls like me who are survivors of acid attacks, and this will give them courage and it will also go to show people who judge people based on their appearance that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, you should look at everyone through the same eyes.”
Jaf Shah, executive director of London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International told the SMH “there are whole swathes of regions across the globe where acid attacks are occurring but are not being recorded.”
India currently has the highest number of recorded attacks and it’s people like Quershi and FTL Moda coming forward and providing a platform to confront this issue on a global scale that we will hopefully see changes for the better.
Head to Make Love Not Scars For more information and to donate to the cause.