Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind. The act rarely kills but causes severe physical, psychological and social scarring. Victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance and without means to support themselves. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location. It is difficult to look at the face of a woman who has been attacked with acid and imagine how she will live an independent and fulfilling life. Yet despite indescribable pain, disfigurement and psychological trauma, many survivors can and do rebuild their lives when they’re provided with the support they need. So, how can we change the lives of these women who have lost everything and barely exist? Our aim is to transform them through this project led by Lola O’ Neill for the non pro t, Beyond Skin Foundation.
There are three elements to training and development. The ultimate aim is to re-build confidence in these women and help them secure employment. We are hoping to begin in October 2017.
We will be working with female acid attack survivors based in Kolkata. The initial part of the project is to teach them how to rebuild the face. It involves using a specialist product that can cover scarring and rebuild eyebrows and lashes. It will also involve using the highest quality wigs that look like real hair. Not only does the process restore confidence in their own appearance so that they can be seen as a normal part of society, it also allows them to present themselves in a professional manner for their future careers and employment.
Beyond Skin Foundation will then train the women in professional make-up artistry which will result in an internationally recognised certification. We will specifically train them in special occasion and Bridal artistry including hair and nails. There are over 10 million weddings in India each year allowing the students to graduate into an area with high employment. They will be trained to the highest level by a team of international and award winning make-up artists from Europe and the US. The team ranges from Academy Award winners to TV presenters to industry leaders. Not only will it involve the best training but it will give the project an opportunity to gain the considerable attention it deserves.
The third and final part involves working closely with these amazing women. Whether they choose to start their own businesses or secure employment in the beauty industry we will give them interview techniques, assertiveness training, professionalism, financial management, client building & basic English language classes. Through local links with Bollywood, elite salons, micro nance providers, doors will not only open to employ talented Alumni but crucially, will fulfil social responsibility for their organisations.This project is a unique opportunity to rebuild the lives of women who have been, so cruelly, dealt a devastating fate. It will ensure they can be given a future of hope, fulfilment and financial independence.