Focus on women warriors

A thoughtful gesture to mark International Women’s Day

Published - March 04, 2015 04:12 pm IST

At the event

At the event

On International Women’s Day this March 8, five women, who come from different walks of life but share common traits of strong willed character, decisiveness and speaking up for their honour, will be hailed as role models by millions of women from across the country.

For refusing to get subjugated by those men who consider women as inferior beings, who can be intimidated into the way they want, these bravehearts — Sonia Choudhary, an acid victim survivor, Anna Marie Lopes, a domestic violence survivor, Rajni Arora, a cancer survivor, Omkari, a cab driver and Anjina Rajagopal, a child activist — have been honoured with a gift of health for life from SRL Diagnostics.

These women, who many will look up to in the years to come for their extraordinary courage and strength of character, have got a lifetime offer of “health screening package” from the diagnostic brand.

The stories of these women are as much tales of the horrific side of the society as they are examples of bravery.

Eleven years ago, Sonia’s life turned upside down when her neighbour threw acid on her face for disclosing to the police that she had purchased the mobile, albeit a stolen one, from him. “Anurag, my neighbour in Ghaziabad, ran a chowmein catering service. I would call him bhaiya; he would drop by at home. I purchased a mobile from him because I did not have an ID card proof, necessary to purchase the electronic device. However, it turned out that the mobile was a stolen one.”

For the horrendous attack inflicted on her leading to a disfigured face, “Almighty punished Anurag as his wife and family disassociated themselves from him. Grief-stricken, he died of heart attack.”

Though she is undergoing treatment at LNJP, Sonia wants to get effective treatment abroad which comes for a high cost. Presently, she is getting help from Stop Acid Attack Campaign, an NGO. She is a proud mother of an adopted girl and her life revolves around the child and her work — running a beauty parlour.

Meanwhile, Anna, who unknowingly walked into an unhappy marriage in the UAE, refused to take it lying down. Her husband was involved in an extra marital relationship. “He was in a relationship with a minor, who would drop by at our home. So it was right in front of me and he injected spy software on my laptop to monitor my movement. To make matters worse, my family did not support me.”

Anna, who was granted divorce from her husband last year, currently working with Maitri, an NGO, which deals with issues like domestic violence. But the 28-year-old plans to return to the UAE, where she was born and lived most of her life, to start her life afresh. “At UAE, I want to work with a non-profit organisation, which works for the welfare of survivors of domestic violence.”

In 1988, when Anjina laid the foundation of Saikripa, an NGO, people were dismissive of her. “People did not take me seriously but gradually they realised that I was providing a better life to orphans and marginalised children. For the past 27 years, my NGO has been running completely on public funding. We have not taken a single rupee from the Government.”

In 2013, she was felicitated with a senior citizen award by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan.

“Eventually we want these children to become better human beings. We provide free education or concessional fees to underprivileged children.”

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