Laxmi Agarwal is a 30 years old woman from India. She has proven to the whole world that no one should remain a Victim rather they should become a Survivor, regardless of the circumstances they faced.
Laxmi today is a TV host, an NGO Director, a motivational speaker, and an activist who is working against acid attacks and she is working on a campaign to ban the selling of acid in India.
She was only fifteen years of age when she suffered at the hands of a 32 years old attacker who used a woman to throw acid at Laxmi at a very young age. She was attacked because she refused to marry her attacker.
Naeem Khan, who attacked Laxmi and changed her life forever was a family member of Laxmi. He had developed a liking for her but Laxmi did not like his romantic advances towards her. He proposed to her for marriage despite knowing she was not ready for her and that she was a minor. When she refused his request several times, Naeem was furious and he wanted to ruin her face and identity in utter rage.
Naeem along with the partner of his brother stopped Laxmi at the bus stop where she pushed her and threw acid on her face. Laxmi fainted during the incident but as per her when she woke up she was still lying on the road, waiting for help to arrive and she could feel her skin burning and melting badly.
Laxmi's father became her strength and he told her that one day she will love her face that is not looking real to her after the incident and it was not wrong at all
Laxmi and her father filed a case for an acid ban a year later her acid attack. She got immense support from her lawyer who fought her case for free. Later on after her matric she decided to do some courses like tailoring and beauty and started working for her new life.
Laxmi who now has a beautiful daughter became an advocate against the acid sale and acid attacks and fought for the rights of acid victims either they were past cases. Due to her constant fight against this most prevailing crime in India, the courts of India passed the order to give monetary compensation to the new and old acid case victims and also made ID essential to buy acids.
She received the "International Women Empowerment Award" for her campaign named "Stop Sale Acid" from the M & UNICEF. She also received the "International Woman of Courage" award from Michelle Obama.
A movie named "Chapaak" has also been premiered in India which narrates the story of Laxmi Agarwal. Laxmi found this movie to be of real help to spread awareness about acid attacks and its victims. Talking about the movie in an interview she said:
“Women go through many kinds of atrocities including rape and domestic abuse, but now another major issue has been brought to the fore. While on the one hand, it will bring awareness among people about this heinous crime, on the other, it will encourage women who have been victimised to come out in the open and lead their lives with grit and confidence.”
Laxmi is now the president of The Laxmi Foundation and a motivational speaker and an activist as well.
Laxmi has really become an example of strength for the whole world, where she has not only taught women to be brave to raise their voice against violence, she has also taught the world to be kind towards the victims and looking at them beyond their disfigured skin or body.
He changed my face, not my heart. He threw acid on my face, not my dreams.