A woman who was doused in acid when she was just two-months-old now runs her own survivor foundation
Anmol Rodrigous was curled up in her mother’s lap when her father poured a can of acid on them, killing her mother, and disfiguring his newborn daughter.
The motive of the assault was to get rid of both the child and the mother for giving birth to a ‘girl’.
But 23 years later, Anmol has not only overcome the physical and emotional pain, she has also become an inspiration to many women like her.
Anmol, which means priceless in Hindi, claims to be the happiest girl in the world.
Anmol says: ‘I love my life as it is. Not even once have I felt that I am different. This could also be because I only remember seeing myself with one eye and wrinkled, burnt skin.
‘I have very happily accepted myself and this has given me hopes and confidence to keep moving in life.
‘My whole life was spent at an orphanage in Mumbai. I am told that I was only two months old when my father had attacked my mother and myself with acid.
‘While my mother died due to the burns, I underwent treatment for five long years at the hospital. The doctors and nurses were taking care of the expenses and medicines.
‘As I improved a little the doctors handed me over to Shree Manav Seva Sangh where I was raised up with love and affection.’
But Anmol confesses that growing up with a burnt face was not easy as was constantly reminded of the terrible attack.
She said: ‘I was too young and never understood why I looked different from others at the hospital but when I came in the orphanage I realised children were different than me.
‘While no one hated me, initially they were scared of my face but gradually, as we grew older, I made many friends. But outside orphanage it was always difficult.
‘In college I excelled in studies but had no friends. I was a loner who would eat lunch alone and have no one talk to.
‘Girls would find it strange that I loved fashion and always wore trendy clothes. Some would keep staring at me while others would be curious to know what happened to my face.
‘I wish my mother was alive. Not that I am not thankful for the orphanage for shaping up my life, I miss mother’s love. I would have a friend in her who would love me unconditionally.’
After she finished her college two years ago, Anmol moved out of the orphanage and has since been living on her alone.
She makes £117 a month from giving her ideas to make creative sets for the shows and spends money on her stylish dresses and saves a little for her NGO.
Anmol gets in touch with women leaders and politicians to arrange work opportunities for girls like her.
The young girl says she loves to dress up and wishes to become a model. She has already been offered model assignments by two designers to promote their jewellery on Instagram.
She said: ‘I want to become the first commercial acid attack survivor model who can not just promote fashion but also spread awareness that acid does not end life.
This is really exciting and I am soon going to get the opportunity what I have been longing for.
‘I hope my stint will inspire women like me to not cover their face in a veil, instead walk confidently with their face.
‘Acid can only change our face but not ruin our soul. We are same inside out and we should accept ourselves who we are and live our lives happily.’