Acid survivors seek to start life anew | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 28, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 28, 2008

National Conference Ends

Acid survivors seek to start life anew

Acid survivors sing at the closing session of a national conference organised by the Acid Survivors Foundation at Gonoshasthya Kendra in Savar yesterday.Photo: STAR

When 26-year-old Shamsul Haque was singing 'O dear mother, you now won't be able to recognise your son' at the closing session of the national conference of acid survivors yesterday, the audience could not hold back their tears.
Shamsul Hoque, who hails from Haripur in Thakurgaon, came under acid attack by his friend last year following a feud over a business-related issue. He had received treatment at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Hospital for 11 months. His condition has now improved, but he has lost his eyesight forever.
"My mother has not seen my acid-burnt face and body until now as she could not come to Dhaka because of her illness. As my face had been disfigured very badly, I wonder whether it would be possible even for my mother to recognise me now," said Shamsul whose entire body was burnt by acid so badly that even the doctors gave up hope that his life could be saved.
The young man, however, now wants to start his life anew like other acid survivors attending the conference who did not lose heart, although the criminals tried to shatter their lives.
With the help of Acid Survivors Foundation and a host of well-wishers, they have regained their confidence, courage and mental strength and started to live a new life.
At the three-day national conference organised by the ASF at Gonoshasthyo Kendra in Savar, the acid survivors talked with the officials of government and non-government organisations. Then they set out recommendations to adopt a strategy for bringing economic prosperity, resisting acid violence, ensuring justice, providing treatment to the acid survivors and raising awareness.
Employment opportunities should be created for the acid survivors according to their skills and, at the same time, working environment should also be created to suite their needs, they recommended.
The recommendations also include providing skill development training for the acid survivors for free, ensuring easy access to public organisations, introducing quota system for them and allocating khas lands for them on easy conditions.
To curb acid violence, they recommended stepping up the monitoring on sale of acid, selling acid through only dealers, incorporating the acid violence issue into textbooks and enforcing laws strictly and ensuring punishment to criminals.
They also said that the security of victims, their families and the witnesses in acid case must be ensured.
"The recommendations will be submitted to the National Acid Control Council, law ministry and women and children affairs ministry. The next action plan of ASF would be based on the recommendations," said ASF Executive Director Monira Rahman.
ASF Chairperson Shawkat Hossain, trustee Dr M Khalilur Rahman, Syeda Farzana Rahim and Executive Director of Square Group Ashiqul Haque Chowdhury were present at the concluding session presided over by Laily Begum, an acid survivor.

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