‘March’ ahead with Pride!

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | CATHLINE CHEN
Published Mar 27, 2018, 12:00 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2018, 4:43 am IST
A special walk took place in the city on Sunday, where burns victims, acid attack survivors expressed their support.
Prashant Kumar, a paralympic player with Muniswamy Srinivas
 Prashant Kumar, a paralympic player with Muniswamy Srinivas

An inspiring and overwhelming ‘Pride Walk’ which included the differently abled, burn victims and acid attack survivors was held in the city on 25th March, Sunday. Everyone held hands and marched from Town Hall to freedom park sensitising and raising awareness for disabilities and skin donation for acid attack and burn survivors and to show solidarity!

Speaking to the enthusiastic participants who were the acid attack survivors and differently abled people who share their stories to us. Jayalakshmi, a 50-year-old acid attack survivor who was attacked by her own husband in 2003 says, “My husband and I always used to have quarrels and doubted me a lot. One day he just came and poured a bottle of acid on me, it was the most painful day in my life. After that, my husband was put in jail for 10 years and released after his sentencing and he recently passed away. I have overcome my fears now and I am really happy to be here for the walk and this programme.”

 

There have been many acid attack cases in the country of one-sided love affairs, where men were not able to face the rejection and threw acid on the girls face. One of those victims is Gulnaz Khan, a 21-year-old young lady who hails from Uttarakhand, an acid attack victim who was attacked by a lover who she diligently rejected. Gulnaaz came for the Pride walk all the way to Bengaluru and was very thrilled about the event she says, “My life has been very difficult ever since I was attacked because people didn’t accept me for who I am and how I look. Everyone judges us looking at our faces, like it’s our mistake but we know it is not our fault we look this way. Acid is only in people’s mentality but not our faces. We are all beautiful and wonderful the way we are. These scars are not who we are anymore!”

 

The walk was also joined by the physically disabled in their wheel chairs. Some woke up really early for the event and speaking to Prema Shetty, a 58-year-old physically disabled women who also woke up early morning for the Pride Walk. She says, “I am overjoyed to be here at this event as we got to meet different people who are going through the same struggles. It’s difficult to manage our own lives but it’s overwhelming to see organisations like this helping us in our journey. I am also so thrilled to see celebs like Sonu Sood who came and joined us for this event. It makes it even more special.”

 

Bollywood actor, Sonu Sood who also joined the event and distributed wheel chairs and certificates to the participants. Sonu says, “It’s a big honour to be a part of this event. Being a part of this family gives me so much joy and the goal is to bring more and more people to be a part of this raise awareness for issues like skin bank and how important it is to donate skin to people. I have also pledged to do the same. This is how the goodness can spread!”

The woman behind all of this is the founder and CEO of Hothur Foundation, Kulsum Shadab Wahab who was extremely overwhelmed to have all the people who she works with everyday which includes the victims and the differently abled. She says, “They were all under one roof and the fact that we could raise awareness on skin banking and suicides. It was a great message to all the people out there.  Acid attack survivors definitely need another act because they come under the disability act which I think is really unfair. They should definitely be given special provisions. I also believe we should stop acid sales in stores and promote skin banking, which is what I’m working on this year.”

 

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