Acid attack survivors open cafe in Lucknow on Women’s Day

Lucknow, March 8 (IANS) ‘Sheroes Hangout’, a cafe managed by acid attack survivors, was inaugurated here on Tuesday on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the second such venture after a successful one in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

The cafe in the state capital will be run by four acid attack survivors from Uttar Pradesh and one from Odisha.

The sprawling cafe provided space by the Uttar Pradesh Women Welfare Department on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s intervention can accomodate up to 50 people and offers a variety of goodies, mostly snacks.

The Sheroes Hangout, run by Chhanv Foundation, an official said, was “basically a cafe which can be treated as a fooding place and that it is unconventional.

Abhilash, a member of the Anti-Acid Attack Movement, told IANS that the idea was to not only bring the acid attack survivors out of their depressed lives but also to assimilate them into the mainstream.

“We are very happy at the acceptance of our efforts in Agra, and Lucknow hopefully will go the same way,” he said even as the acid attack survivors fussed over minutest details of the inauguration function.

The five gutsy women – Rani, Farah, Reshma, Sunita and Aruna – were visibly pleased over their new venture, pointing out that their lives now had got “a new meaning” and that they wanted to be “just like everyone”!

Excited over the public response to the new hangout, they also at the same time expressed their worry over the open sale of acid at many places in Uttar Pradesh, despite a Supreme Court ban.

“We never thought this will happen to us. Now, we want this to never happen to any woman” said one of them on a sombre note.

The mood however soon became upbeat as a volunteer said that a real estate company had offered them space in their under-construction mall at Udaipur in Rajasthan to open another ‘Sheroes Hangout’.

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