Nineteen-year-old Reshma Qureshi from India has become an inspiration for acid attack survivors all across the world.
FTL Moda, a fashion production company, invited the teenager to take part in a catwalk in New York at the New York Fashion Week, 2016. The company is dedicated to challenging industry stereotypes of beauty. Previously, the company featured a model with Down’s syndrome.
Wearing a cream and floral floor length gown by the Indian designer Archana Kochhar, Qureshi said, “I feel really good and the experience was great. I feel as though it has definitely changed my life.”
Qureshi’s sister’s estranged husband and his friends attacked the young woman, who is the daughter of a Taxi driver and hails from Mumbai, in May 2014. Today, she is as beautiful as any other professional model with all other physical features except for her face, intact.
She now hopes to complete high school and then continue her education at college. She wants to send out a message to acid attack survivors all around the world and let them know they’re as good and able as anyone else their age.
“Why should we not enjoy our lives? What happened to us is not our fault and we’ve done nothing wrong and so we should also move forward in life,” the 19-year-old said.
“I want to tell the world – do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things,” Qureshi continued.
According to the Acid Survivor’s Foundation India, around a 100-500 acid attack incidents take place in the country each year. Survivor’s are then victimized and looked at in a different light. However, Qureshi is changing that for thousands of women across the globe, making them believe that falling prey to an acid attack doesn’t change their life or mean they cannot achieve their dreams any longer.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucas Jackson