When Pragya Singh suffered a horrible acid attack by a previously rejected suitor she felt her whole life come crashing down around her. She was turned away from jobs and felt isolated in society. The acid attack left Pragya’s face horribly scarred, burnt and damaged but it didn’t damage her inner strength. She picked herself up, dusted herself off, married and raised a family of two beautiful girls, and in 2013, became the proud founder of the Atijeevan Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to acid attack victims in India.
The Atijeevan Foundation, and Pragya’s Powerful Journey to Help Women Dream Again
Pragya decided that she needed to help other victims like herself get a second chance at life. She had no financial help at first and had to depend on merciful people to devote some of their free time. She gradually formed a team who could help her execute her plans to raise funds for the surgeries of acid attack victims. She wanted these women to be able to find employment and marriage prospects. She taught more than 50 women how to make products recycled from sarees and newspapers and make a decent living.
Her inspiration to help others came from her own difficulties that she had to face in the past. She found it hard to get a job in spite of being educated and wondered how other girls, without any education, would get employment after having their faces badly disfigured. Also, it was hard for burn victims to handle a 9-5 job. She knew she had to give them a second chance at ‘survival’ – the very meaning of the word Atijeevan.
Nothing could be better than making them find a livelihood which could motivate them to overcome the trauma they had to face in the past.”
Pragya knew that once these women started working and earning for themselves they wouldn’t be considered a burden to their families anymore and would be appreciated and accepted back into their families, back into society. And that is the whole objective of Pragya’s Atijeevan Foundation.
Pragya’s Words of Wisdom to Other Social Entrepreneurs
Pragya’s bold stand for all the unfortunate women in India who have fallen victim to the unforgiving hands of acid attackers is one to be applauded.
Believe in your goals and be patient. People would always say that it is not achievable,it is not practical. Don’t listen to them, if you believe in your dreams and have passion to achieve it, go for it.”
Pragya says that nothing in this world comes easy and you need to work hard to achieve your goals. Success won’t come overnight. Starting something new isn’t the hard part, sustaining it is. Create something that is sustainable and has meaning, or in her case, that gives meaning back to somebody else’s life.