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.
( 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 Rupa’s flair for designing are being appreciated by one and all.
( Rupa and Rita )
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.
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.
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. The idea of the photo-shoot, too, was to showcase Rupa’s designs.
Referring to the success of the photo-shoot, Rupa says, “I cannot believe that I am a part of something so huge and significant”, says Rupa, who is equally excited and happy about the way things are shaping up for her.
( Laxmi )
( Chanchal )
( Sonam )
“We first thought that we’d hire professional models”, says Saharan. But the concept was later dropped and it was decided that the girls from SAA would model for Rupa’s dresses.
The planning of the shoot was very simple. “I wanted the look to be natural and real. We used minimal make-up and did a bit of hairstylist on the girls”.“I wanted to take photographs that every girl could connect to. We wanted to change the perception of beauty”, Saharan asserts.
( Rahul, with the girls )
The experience for Saharan and the girls was wonderful. “My 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 good”, states Rupa. She is happy to see others wearing her creation. The designs for her ideas come straight from her heart, she says.
“Earlier these girls used to always cover their faces. And now they are posing for a photo-shoot”, asserts Saharan. 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.
With each passing day, Rupa is honing her skills, inching slowly towards achieving her life's goal.
It is Rupa’s brother’s birthday on Wednesday and she has gone to meet him at her uncle’s place, who also lives in Delhi.
When asked what she plans to do for the rest of the day, she says she has to return to Chhanv. “I 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 it”, says the professional in her.
For those living in India wishing to help Rupa to achieve her dream of opening a boutique can visit Chhanv Boutique - An Acid Attack Fighter's dream
And those, from abroad, who want to fund Rupa's campaign can do it here: Chhanv's Closet - Acid Attack Fighter Rupa's dream
(All other information regarding the campaign can also be viewed on the above links)