A few months ago I learned via some Internet wormhole about a small group of women running a café in India whose purpose is to condemn violence against women. There are many such initiatives, by many women all around the world, but none like this place.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar, but I was already, about acid attacks. For one reason or another (a declined marriage proposal, or unhappy in-laws), someone throws acid in the face of a woman to disfigure her and shame her; and it often has the desired effect. Many of the victims of this diabolical crime disappear into the shadows and, even if their stories surface, they are quickly forgotten.
When I reviewed our itinerary for India, we were coming to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and I realized that the Sheroes Hangout was right on our doorstep. I can think of no way to better support these women and their cause than by taking my wife and three daughters to their café and facing the darkness behind the their stories.
Our stay there was only an hour. We watched a well produced video about acid attacks and ordered some drinks and snacks. The girls read some books. Lisa and I looked at the art on display and for sale. Disappointingly they didn’t take credit card for the art, and some of it would have exceeded the allowable ATM withdrawal for a day. Had they accepted credit, I think we would have dropped a pretty penny on some of the beautiful paintings.
The courage these women have is truly inspiring. Their stories tragic and their faces a reminder of the savage, evil acts of inhuman attackers and yet they exude the beauty of courage and emanate a positivity impossible to their situation. I stand in awe knowing I could never be that strong. Their wonderful and cheerful company stands as a beacon of change.