Happy International Women’s Day! We at EnAble India wish to celebrate the spirit of an independent Indian woman with the story of Haseena, a woman with amazing courage, confidence and compassion.
At the age of 21, Haseena became a victim of an acid attack and this attack caused her to lose her vision completely. For 10 years, she had to undergo 35 surgeries to reconstruct her face and body and she underwent immense counselling to help her get over the trauma. She was in and out of hospitals and never stepped out of her home to go anywhere else. She was not in touch with the outside world.
At Enable India, Haseena found hope. Her initial days were a trying time for both the trainers and herself. Coming out of her home was a culture shock. Because of the amount of time spent in the hospitals, she never got the opportunity to meet and mingle with people. Her world was black and white. She expected perfect behaviour from everyone she met, with no room for disappointment. We were worried about her job since every job requires interaction and team work. We wanted her to have a full life with friends and family. We believed in her potential. With the love and support of the Enable India trainers, she came out of her shell and learnt to mingle with others and made several friends. One of her first outings was to a park and she even joined the excursion to Nandi Hills with her family and friends. With EnAble India’s encouragement, she learnt to enjoy life and realised even “Haseena can smile”. What changed her life was voluntary work where she had to collect clothes for flood victims where she had to reach out to other people. Volunteering helped her to reconnect with her relatives and friends, with whom she hadn’t spoken to for a long time. The trainers recall when she had to do her presentation in front of a crowd regarding her volunteer work. It was an emotional moment because we had never seen her speak in front of an audience.
The Haseena of today, has become fully confident and independent. In her words, she is not a victim.
She is now working as a stenographer in a government department. She applied for a government job and using assistive technology, she proved to the officials that she could be a productive resource to the government sector.
After losing her vision, Haseena had been scared to walk alone. Her mother had to take her everywhere. During the initial training days, she used to arrive by auto because she was afraid to travel by public transport. With the mobility training, she is now independent and walks to her office all by herself.
Haseena’s tremendous courage had touched the lives of a lot of people. She has earned the respect of her community. She counsels many people who are in depression and has helped many others in need. She has even successfully counselled people with suicidal tendencies. She is actively working towards empowerment of acid attack victims. To prove that she too can lead the same life as others, she does her daily activities independently. She cooks, hangs out with friends, supports her family, fights for justice, and is the role model of a truly independent woman with dignity.
See the article about Haseena in the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/with-sheer-grit-haseena-moves-on/article5761533.ece