It’s not every day that one reads about a young Indian student, who while still in her final year at Leeds College of Art UK, decides not only to make a documentary film, on acid attack victims in India but takes a bold dedicated step of actually setting up an organisation to fight for, create awareness, raise funds and help rehabilitate acid attack victims
Meet Ria Sharma –a barely twenty two year old young Samaritan –the founder of Make Love Not Scars, a young initiative with a small sincere team of volunteers
Ria has raised over I crore in just a year for various surgeries and for the rehabilitation of acid attack victims through requests and appeals for donations.
Much of Ria’s day to day life revolves around hospitals, courts and survivors and she won’t have it any other way.
She constantly endeavours to raise funds to help victims join a vocational program or study further so that they can support themselves in some way. Her organisation has also funded an acid attack survivors dream to study at the renowned Parsons New School for Design in New York. Make Love Not Scars has also been successful in garnering the youth’s attention and has a good volunteer database.
It’s the brave heart and spirit of the survivors that gives her the courage to carry on.
The organisation also aims to create a community where survivors can connect with and support each other
Ria has also spoken at the Nation Consultation of the Law on Acid Violence hosted by the Human Rights law Network
According to Ria, the laws related to survivors and their compensation need to be amended and there needs to be better implementation of laws that exist on both the part of the government and the police to catch and punish the criminals .The shocking statistics by the Acid Survivors Trust International is that an estimated thousand such attacks take place in India every year
Ria believes in the power of justice, the strength of the human spirit and the next generation that is ready to help eradicate social stigma. Determined to bring about change, for Ria the term impossible is just another opportunity .