The Many Hurdles in the Life of Acid Attack Survivor Laxmi
Laxmi has received multiple job offers from private companies, but feels only a stable govt job could end her woes.
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Picking up the pieces after a brutal acid attack on her in 2005, Laxmi would often be lauded by neighbors and strangers who posed with her in the streets for selfies. We are with you and we’re proud–every conversation, familiar or strange, would end with endearing words.
But when the 30-year-old single mother asked residents of her Laxmi Nagar colony to help her find an affordable home on rent, no one took a step forward. Laxmi has been facing economic hardship for quite some time and does not have a permanent source of income to pay her rent, which the landlord wants increased.
Laxmi was just 15, when she was attacked with acid by a man whose advances she had spurned. Following the incident, Laxmi dropped out of school and could only complete her education till the 10th grade.
Once in four to five months, Laxmi manages to earn Rs 20 to 30 thousands from paid events. But that gets over in a matter of months, as she has to take care of her three year-old daughter Piu and her mother.
“My daughter is three years old, but I haven’t been able to secure her admission into a school. I don’t have an source of income and education has become really expensive.”Laxmi Agarwal
Over the years, Laxmi has been fighting for the rights of acid-attack survivors in India and it was within this space that she met her former partner Alok Dixit. The two fell in love and co-founded a campaign named Stop Acid Attacks.
The couple lived together and gave birth to a girl in 2015. But differences between Laxmi and Alok led to their separation, during which Laxmi got the child’s custody. Laxmi says Alok had helped her a lot, while adding that not every couple can be a perfect match.
After reports of Laxmi’s economic hardship appeared in news reports, Akshay Kumar transferred Rs 5 lakh to her bank account. But he wasn’t the only hero, says Lakshmi. Along which Kumar were many other ‘heroes’ who donated a portion of the income to help Laxmi and her family survive.
Laxmi’s phone hasn’t stopper ringing ever since reports on her financial condition. Although she’s been offered jobs by private companies and NGOs, no one from the government has reached out to her.
“I am in most need of a permanent government job, that can secure my future,” adds Laxmi, who has not accepted any private job offer as yet. She feels the jobs being offered to her could be temporary, when all she needs is a permanent solution to her financial distress.
Laxmi is aware of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill - 2016, which provides for reservation in government jobs and education. But acid attack survivors weren’t provided for, when Laxmi was attacked way back in 2005. She could only complete education till class 10.
But even for may others, an acid attack in India’s societal setup often means the end of regular education. This, in turn, ensured that many like Laxmi are not able to complete their education and hence, do not qualify for government jobs reserved for them.
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