‘Project Jazba’ is a business model conceptualized by the team of Enactus Miranda House, Delhi University in which they rehabilitated an acid attack survivor by providing her a salon as a means of sustenance. Soniya after an acid attack on her was not able to show her talent in grooming in spite of being trained by ‘Shahnaz Hussain Institute’. It is the stereotypical notion of beauty which Enactus Miranda is set to break along with Miss Soniya under the notion “Acid can corrode their skin, not their spirit” by setting up a salon for her named ‘ASTITVA’.
1. What gave you the idea to start “Project Jazba”?
So, as far as I remember, our seniors saw a video of acid attack survivors who were running a cafe, Sheroes Hangout in Agra, so people appreciated the fact that they are coming up and taking up economic activities for their sustenance, but they were extremely uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their personal spaces with an attack survivor, so we as a student organisation wanted to take up something which could not only break the kind of stigmas associated with the acid attack survivors but also break the stereotypes of beauty that exists in our society. As Feminists, we think that it is extremely important to break the social stigma attached to beauty standards. Also, that someone who’s been an acid attack survivor need not give up on his/her dreams just because how they look. Like one incident in their life should not have the ability stop them from doing whatever they want. And what better way to break all beauty stereotypes than to have a beauty salon being run by acid attack survivors, so that’s how the idea of Project Jazba came up. We stand by our notion that, “Acid can corrode their skin, not their spirit.”
2. What were the difficulties that you faced with “Project Jazba”?
Project Jazba has faced difficulties at each and every step. The reach out to the acid attack survivors was the toughest jobs, interacting with them and building trust and breaking the ice was another difficult thing to have, because of the impact of such attacks they refuse to talk to people and they can hardly trust people, most of the cases are such that even their families have discarded them, so it is extremely difficult to bring them out of their shells. For the same, we did various rehabilitation programs with 10 survivors in collaboration with NGO ‘Chaanv’ which involved major ice breaking sessions and helping them heal their pain. It was very difficult to find the property that we have got because there were people who were apprehensive in giving their properties on rent for such a noble cause. We were appalled to see that lot of people were unaware of the crime called an “acid attack”, so to make people aware of the laws and the kind of heinous crime it is, is something that we have been continuously doing through our campaigns, and will be doing it in future.
3. What kept you motivated throughout the “Project Jazba”?
Well, the time we started interacting with them, we realized that the people and their situation have been unfair to them and what we can do is to help them take their first step towards empowering themselves and make them self-sustainable. The smile on their faces and their reassuring faces that they want to do something in their lives, kept us motivated. Their own urge to come out of their difficult situation made us work together. Also, the society’s perceptions towards the crime were something that drove the urge to not only sensitize people about it but also make them aware of the laws related to the crime.
4. Which is the best memory you can recall attached to the project?
I think the last day of the rehabilitation program when we saw new and strong Soniya ma’am, Rupa Didi and a happy Rupali Didi who was dancing their heart out on the stage. I think that was something which gave a sense of belongingness with them and drove the urge to work even harder.
5. How far has the project reached now?
The property for the salon that we will be taking on rent has been finalized and we also did a crowd funding with Ketto for generating money for the setup. The salon most probably will be ready by May.
6. Whom would you like to give credits for the success?
I think the whole “Team Jazba” who with their constant perseverance and utmost dedication are working in the Project and the survivors who urge to be independent and strong, both work together for the betterment of the kind of society we live in.
7. How did you go and speak to the acid attack survivor and come to know about her needs of a salon?
Soniya ma’am, who inspired us to open up a salon was working in a salon before the attack, and after the attack, she was barred from working in that salon, she decided that she will open a salon which will be run by her and would employ other such girls who have been dejected and scarred for life, she would not let other girls suffer as she did. And we through our social entrepreneurship idea decided to help her out.
Article on Project Jazba by DU Beat.
Article on Project Jazba by Ketto.
Article on Project Jazba by Press Reader.
If anyone wants to contribute and help ‘ASTITVA’ flourish can contact Enactus Miranda House through our Facebook page or mail us at– firstname.lastname@example.org