Modelling for a purpose: Acid attack survivors in a photo shoot for a collective dream
Features Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 05:30
Monalisa Das| The News Minute | August 13, 2014 | 05:34 pm IST Laxmi, Chanchal, Rita, Sonam and Rupa recently took on a new avatar- of models during a photo-shoot; a first of sorts for them. And they were proud to be wearing the creations of Rupa, a budding dress designer.Â ( Rupa, the designer, wearing her own creation ) These women, who are acid attack survivors, were captured on camera by Delhi-based photographer Rahul Saharan. The photographs have gone viral; Saharan's photographs and Rupaâ€™s flair for designing are being appreciated by one and all.Â ( Rupa and RituÂ ) The shoot was organized by Stop Acid Attacks (SAA), a Delhi based NGO, that campaigns against acid violence and assists in the rehabilitation of acid attack survivors.Â In 2008, Rupa's stepmother splashed acid on her face while she was sleeping, thus changing her life forever. Read our earlier story on Rupa: They stole her face, but her dreams are intact... Rupa an acid attack survivor becomes dress designer However, things began to take a turn for the better after she came to Chhanv, a shelter home for acid attack survivors, which is a part of SAA. Rupa loves to stitch and wants to make a full-fledged career out of it.Â SAA is currently campaigning to collect donations from across the world and help Rupa realize her dreams of opening a boutique. Rupa today is a much stronger woman than she used to be; her work is being noticed and praised far and wide. But what she needs most at present is financial assistance from people, which will help materialise her dreams. Â The idea of the photo-shoot, too, was to showcase Rupaâ€™s designs.Â Referring to the success of the photo-shoot, Rupa says, â€śI cannot believe that I am a part of something so huge and significantâ€ť, says Rupa, who is equally excited and happy about the way things are shaping up for her. ( Laxmi ) ( Sonam ) ( Chanchal ) The shoot â€śWe first thought that weâ€™d hire professional modelsâ€ť, says Saharan. But the concept was later dropped and it was decided that the girls from SAA would model for Rupaâ€™s dresses. The planning of the shoot was very simple. â€śI wanted the look to be natural and real. We used minimal make-up and did a bit of hairstylist on the girlsâ€ť.â€śI wanted to take photographs that every girl could connect to. We wanted to change the perception of beautyâ€ť, Saharan asserts.Â ( Rahul, with the girls ) The experience for Saharan and the girls was wonderful. â€śMy friends and I had never worn such kind of dresses. So we were a little shy initially. But then all of us wore them and the shoot turned out to be very goodâ€ť, states Rupa. She is happy to see others wearing her creation.Â The designs for her ideas come straight from her heart, she says. The photographs from the shoot, which are available on both SAA and Rahul Saharanâ€™s Facebook page, have gone viral and Saharan feels that they could have never imagined such overwhelming response.Â â€śEarlier these girls used to always cover their faces. And now they are posing for a photo-shootâ€ť, asserts Saharan.Â Rahul, who is also a cinematographer, plans to make a film on acid attack survivors. The photographs are not just images of victims and survivors of a horrific crime, but of women, strong and fierce, who continue to fight against all odds, determined to achieve what they want in life.Â With each passing day, Rupa is honing her skills, inching slowly towards achieving her life's goal.Â It is Rupaâ€™s brotherâ€™s birthday on Wednesday and she has gone to meet him at her uncleâ€™s place, who also lives in Delhi.Â When asked what she plans to do for the rest of the day, she says she has to return to Chhanv. â€śI have received a contract from the US and I have to send it by August 15. I am only done with half of it and have to go back and work on itâ€ť, says the professional in her.Â For those living in India wishing to help Rupa to achieve her dream of opening a boutique can visitÂ Chhanv Boutique - An Acid Attack Fighter's dream And those abroad who want to fund Rupa's campaign can do it here:Â Chhanv's Closet - Acid Attack Fighter Rupa's dream (All other information regarding the campaign can also be viewed on the above links)
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