Acid attack survivor Reshma Bano Qureshi’s bold journey

RESHMA BANO QURESHI is the youngest daughter of a taxi driver from Mumbai. Reshma’s world turned upside down two years ago in 2014 when she was attacked by her brother-in-law with concentrated acid. The acid disfigured her face immensely beyond identification.


Her brother-in-law mistook her for his wife (her elder sister) and in a fate of anger destroyed her face with acid as both were wearing a burqa.The incident happened at a railway station in her hometown, Mau Aima, 36 km away from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. She had gone there to give her 10th standard exams.

Reshma Bano Qureshi before acid attack
Reshma Bano Qureshi before acid attack
Reshma Bano Qureshi
Reshma Bano Qureshi

Reshma went into depression after she saw her face in the mirror for the first time, a few weeks after the attack. She put herself ito isolation from the world and even tried to commit suicide.

A meeting with Ria Sharma, founder of NGO “Make Love Not Scars”, transformed Reshma’s life. Ria helped her out of depression, and started a crowd-funding campaign to help Reshma meet hospital and legal expenditure. Ria built a strong emotional bonding with Reshma and helped her regain her courage and fight for justice. It was then that Reshma stopped covering her face in public.


Reshma made her modelling debut in the online campaign #EndAcidSale, which became a big hit. In a online beauty tutorial Reshma talked about effects of the acid and its scars on life forever. She also talks about how finding the right shade of lipstick is harder than buying concentrated acid in the market.


FTL Moda invited her to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week, one of the hottest events of the global fashion calendar. FTL Moda always tries to add plurality to the runway, with the previous year’s edition making a lot of noise by having Madeline Stuart, a model with Down Syndrome, walk the runway. Reshma Qureshi walked the fashion show in New York this week to a lot of applause from around the world.

The posters and videos of the campaign won a Glass Lion and two Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016, France.

And this is the message she wants to share with the world: “Make your heart beautiful. Beauty it not just about how you look,” she said.

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