Astitwa Nepal works with survivors of acid and burn violence. I have wanted to write about my experience over there for a while now. I was very nervous during the first week of my internship, as my supervisor Mrs. Rumi had given me a heads up on how I had to be careful around the survivors. I had a lot of things to keep in mind for an example: I had to be very careful of not invading their personal space, and since all of the members had gone through traumatic events, I had to be careful about what I said as well. Now, I am almost at the end of my internship and I wonder why I had been so nervous because the survivors accepted me into this small family of Astitwa Nepal. I am always amazed and left in awe when I listen to them speaking about their goals and dreams. They have learnt so much from their struggle and hardships and this makes me look at life in a different manner. I have managed so become more positive, have learned to leave people or things that make me unhappy, also learned that the survivors aren’t weak but very strong and most importantly learned to believe that every event in our life
My short time at Astitwa has taught me to believe in myself. Miss Sabita Mahat, a single mother of two, one of the members of Astitwa Nepal single handedly managed to take care of her children. She loves colors and often shows it by painting on walls, paper, and piggy banks. Her talent does not only limit to colors but she is a great cook as well, often times she collaborates with Astitwa Nepal and sells homemade candies. She is a survivor of acid attack who struggled to be accepted by the society. Even now when people refer to her as a victim she corrects them as she believes she is a survivor.
Although many people in our society are educated they still fail to understand the struggle faced by the survivors of acid and burn violence. The survivors often share stories about how they are mistreated and looked down by people because of their disfigurement. So, I wanted to make the students, faculty members of Thames and every person who gets a hold of ‘Reflections’ aware about this rising acid and burn violence that prevails not only in India and Terai but is increasing rapidly in Kathmandu as well. These are the reasons to why I wanted to make Astitwa a part of ‘Reflections’.