Bengaluru: In 206, just as she was about to complete her post-graduation in fashion management, Pragya Prasun, then 23, was married to a man of her choice. Barely 12 days after her marriage, she was travelling from Varanasi to Delhi to attend campus placement when at 2 am she jumped off her berth in agony.
She lost consciousness and after a few days she opened her eyes to realise that she was doused in acid by a man whose marriage proposal she had turned down. In the years that followed she underwent 15 surgeries.
Thirteen years later, through her NGO, Atijeevan Foundation, she has been able to rehabilitate the lives of more than 250 burn and acid attack victims so far.
“We focus on facilitating re-constructive surgeries and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, counselling survivors for best possible personalised treatment and empowering survivors by educational and vocational training and organizing exhibitions for selling products made by acid attack and Burn Survivors,” Prasun says.
Last year, she received Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest civilian award given to women in India. Recalling her ordeal at the Safdarjung Burns ward Prasun says, “I was in the ward for 17 days walking on a tight rope between life and death; even doctors have very little hope to save me. I sustained 47% burn and acid fumes had entered my lungs as well. When my condition was stabilized, I was shifted to the Burns ward where I stayed for the next 3 months.” she narrates her ordeal.
Prasun’s stay in the hospital changed her attitude towards life forever.
“I saw the value of each breath I took after that. I realized how tragic life is for burn patients and how they are treated. I tried to become a bridge between the survivors and society. Several girls left covering their face with scarf and burkha after meeting me. They feel confident that there is someone who will not judge them and extend help in every manner to improve their lives .One thing I always tell them is to believe and love themselves and live their life with dignity,” Prasun proudly says.
On this Women’s Day Prasun will talk on ‘Patriarchy and the politics around it’ at Orion mall in the city....