• Reshma Qureshi before her acid attack. (Instagram)Source: Instagram
A video shows the teenager was moved to tears when she received the news.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

16 Aug 2016 - 3:51 PM  UPDATED 16 Aug 2016 - 5:42 PM

Warning: This article contains images that some people may find disturbing.

 

Reshma Qureshi was just 17-years-old when she was attacked by her estranged brother-in-law and a group of men who poured sulfuric acid on her face.

The teenager was left with a severely disfigured face and lost her left eye as a result of her injuries.

The now 19-year-old woman from Mumbai has been working with Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), an NGO which helps acid attack survivors to "regain their life on their own terms through recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration".

She creates videos called "Beauty Tips By Reshma" and is the official face of the #EndAcidSale campaign, which has appealed to the Indian prime minister to end the open sale of acid to the general public.

Now, two years on from the horrific attack, she is preparing to make her catwalk debut at New York Fashion Week for MLNS.

A new video released by the organisation captures the moment Qureshi broke down in tears are finding out she would be leaving India for the first time and walking in one of the biggest fashion events in the world in September.

Ilaria Niccolini, producer of New York-based FTL Moda, who will help organise the show, said it was part of a powerful movement called #TakeBeautyBack, to make all diverse models feel beautiful and included in fashion and entertainment.

"It has been a journey of discovery that led us to Make Love Not Scars, the most recognized [sic] entity supporting survivors of acid attacks in India," Niccolini said in a statement. 

"We want to give voice to these amazing women, who have been silently suffering, hiding, and too often depriving themselves of the opportunity to declare how beastly, and cruelly they have been attacked." 

According to MLNS, there are around 1000 acid attack victims in India every year, and it is easier and often cheaper to buy acid than an item of makeup. 

 

For her part, Qureshi is "so happy" to be walking at New York Fashion Week and believes it will shine a light on the importance of inner beauty.

"I realise that beauty is not just about how we look in the mirror," she told the Hindustan Times.

"It's more important to have a beautiful heart."

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