Laxmi SAA

The fighter and crusader

Laxmi was barely 15 when a man - whose advances she had rejected - flung acid on her face. The acid burnt her face, but she had a much stronger fire coursing through her veins. She survived the trauma, subsisting on her belief: an entire life awaited her and she would make it count.

Laxmi SAA - what an unusual surname, you might say! It is, in fact an acronym for ‘Stop Acid Attacks’. A cause that she isn’t just vocal about, but one that emanates through her actions, appearance, and yes, even her name.

At the young age of fifteen, Laxmi happened to be walking through a street much like the one you see. A man appeared out of nowhere and flung acid on her face. It had been in retaliation to rejecting the advances of an older man. But while the acid burnt her face, it sparked a much stronger fire within her.

She survived the trauma with just one belief - there was a whole life ahead of her and she had to make it count. It helped her rise from the ashes with a renewed sense of purpose. She had to protect others like her. And with that, she launched her counter-attack against acid attacks.

Laxmi associated herself with the NGO ‘Chhanv’, which meant shade. Together, they worked to ensure that no one else had to get scorched by a few unruly characters. Tackling the problem at its roots, they targeted the sale of acid at shop counters. Laxmi, now a global figure in the fight against acid attacks, is actively involved in ensuring legislative changes to the system.

But averting the crime is only half the story. Rehabilitation is the other half. Victims of acid attacks rarely get mainstream jobs and often never fully recover from the physical and emotional wounds. ‘Sheroes’, a chain of stores under Chhanv, provides them with work opportunities.

Who you see in the picture is the face of a very real and prevalent cause. A face that tells the story of an acid attack with its scars, but refuses to be creased with worry lines!

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