Published: 13th January 2018
Shamed for having a burned face once, 23-year-old Anmol now rehabilitates acid attack survivors
Instagrammer Anmol Rogriguez who also runs an NGO Acid attack survivors saahas talks about how despite being attacked by acid and abandoned as toddler, she has a positive outlook towards life
We can’t come to work to see a burnt, disfigured face every day. You have to do something about it.” — This is what Anmol Rodriguez’s employer told her a year ago. She didn’t shed a tear, instead she smiled. She’s lived with that face all her life, so why would somebody’s comment offend her? Who set these beauty standards anyway?
This has been Anmol’s life since she was two months old. Her parents got into a fight, following which her father threw acid on her mother’s face, some of which also fell on baby Anmol, who was sleeping on her mother’s lap. Her mother succumbed to the burns and her father was arrested. But no one was ready to take care of the baby. She grew up in a hospital until she was five. Later, she was sent to an orphanage nearby.
Her view: After the acid attack, Anmol lost vision in her left eye
Today, Anmol is a popular Instagrammer. She also runs an NGO called Acid Survivors Saahas Foundation for others who’ve been scarred. With a positive attitude and a bright smile, she calls herself the ‘happiest girl on Earth’. How can someone, scars or not, be this positive all the time, we wonder. But she doesn’t have all the answers. “Growing up, I would keenly read inspirational books. Maybe that’s how,” says the 23-year-old.
During her childhood no one made Anmol feel like she was different. “My friends were quite used to seeing me all the time, so they didn’t have an issue. But once I started going out, I began to feel the weight of people’s stares. That was quite awkward,” she says. But she taught herself to get distracted from those thoughts. “What’s the point of paying much attention to people anyway?” she asks. She continued her studies and earned a BCA degree, after which she worked in a private firm and later, in a bank. But when societal stereotypes forced her to quit her job, she knew that she had to prove herself. “Being an Instagrammer was a part of that. I love to post my pictures. That is how it started. People saw that and they liked it,” she says. Anmol proved that she could put herself out there, and in the process, she gave hope to other survivors.
I don’t want what happened to me happen to anyone else. That was my motivation behind starting the NGO
Anmol Rodriguez, Founder, Acid attack survivors saahas
Later, she started her own NGO. “It was difficult in the beginning, but I spread as much awareness as I could. We started the NGO in April 2016,” she says. The NGO survives on donations. All of the money is used to fund the surgeries of acid attack survivors.