As Help Pours In, Acid Attack Survivor Laxmi Says, ‘Want Govt Job’

Speaking to The Quint, acid attack survivor Laxmi says that a government job will help her in the long-term.

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Gender
3 min read
Laxmi’s story highlights the truth about acid attack survivors in India. 
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Following media reports on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal’s grim financial condition, support has poured in from all quarters, reports The Hindustan Times. According to the report, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has transferred Rs 5 lakhs to her account and many others have followed suit.

Speaking to The Quint, Laxmi said she has received multiple job offers, including a call from the office of the Delhi Commission for Women, but has not accepted any offer as yet.

“I’ve been flooded with job offers from private companies and NGOs, but I haven’t accepted anything yet. I want a permanent government job that will help secure my future.”
Laxmi Agarwal

The 30-year-old activist has received many awards and medals and even won the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2014, which was presented to her by Michelle Obama.

But medals and awards alone don’t pay bills and an acid attack survivor shouldn’t have to worry about house rent, while looking for a job, Akshay Kumar told the Hindustan Times.

“My contribution is a very small gesture. I am embarrassed to even mention it. The idea is that Laxmi should be able to search for a job with dignity, without having to worry about paying house rent or stressing about not being able to provide a nutritious meal to her baby. I wish people realise that when a person is in need of livelihood, medals, awards and certificates don’t pay the bills. It’s important to support through practical means.”
Akshay Kumar, as told to the Hindustan Times

In an earlier report, the Hindustan Times had noted that Laxmi, the acid attack survivor, whose story of courage and wisdom was an inspiration for many other women in India and abroad, might be forced out of her two-room flat in Delhi. Why? Because Laxmi is finding it hard to make ends meet.

“I have no money. I just don’t. You can check my bank account and it doesn’t even have Rs 5,000. This is how we activists live. I don’t have a regular job and all the money that my NGO gets is spent in taking care of acid attack survivors.”
Dixit tells Hindustan Times
“I am educated till the 10th standard. I am a trained beautician and can communicate well, but my face poses a hurdle when I ask for a job at any beauty parlour, as they say customers will get scared of me. I applied at a call centre and told them that the customers wouldn’t see my face, but they replied that to get a job, I need to have a face to begin with.”
Laxmi tells Hindustan Times 

Laxmi received Rs 3 lakh as compensation from the government after a Supreme Court order, but a lot more went in her recontruction surgeries and the pregnancy that followed.

Laxmi’s story started in 2005, when a stalker scarred her face with acid. But she never backed down and co-founded an NGO – Channv Foundation, with her partner Alok Dixit.

The couple eventually separated and Laxmi got custody for her daughter. She would make do with the honourarium amount she received as Director of an NGO but that, too, stopped soon when she had to quit her job.

Laxmi says she feels honoured every time she is invited to host TV shows or walk the ramp but over the years she has stopped participating because she has a child to look after and there’s no payment involved.

She hosted a couple of shows for a TV show for which says she was paid Rs 38,000 and says she felt honoured because they chose her.

Laxmi is just one of the many stories of acid attack survivors we know about. Activists say her story highlights the plight of acid attack survivors in today’s India.

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