1. When a girl is attacked by acid, it’s not just her body that is damaged but her confidence and her status in society.
So non-profit Chhaon, a support center and medical facility for acid attack survivors, asked photographer Rahul Saharan to help these girls feel confident enough to have their pictures taken.
2. His project, “Shoot for Beauty,” features five young women who have survived attacks, smiling in front of a camera for the first time since then.
“’I have been associated with Chhaon for the last two-and-half years,” Saharan said, “But this is the first time I feel like I’ve put my skills to good use to help these lovely girls. I feel blessed to have got this exclusive opportunity.’
3. Rupa, one of the models, designed all the dresses in the shoot.
After her stepmother doused her in acid, Rupa cut ties with her family and went out on her own. But she never let go of her dream to become a designer.
5. “After the attack there was a pause in my life,” she told the Daily Mail.
“I was so insecure and embarrassed by my scars I used to cover my face with a scarf. I always hung onto my dream but I never knew that one day it would be possible and I would be launching my own label.”
7. Since her attack, Rupa has worked with Chhaon and the nonprofit group Stop Acid Attacks to help other victims and to become financially independent.
Her hope is to open a store in her hometown of New Delhi and employ other survivors. She has set up a crowd-funding site to raise money, and is using these photos as a way to gain awareness for the cause.
9. Saharan is now working to set up a photo exhibition to raise awareness and support survivors.
“This world is like our family,” Saharan said in a post on Facebook, “And when someone is down we must protect them love them take care of them. These small gestures can change someones life, be a reason for someone’s smile. There is nothing more beautiful then that.”