Laxmi Agarwal, a survivor of a brutal hate crime and acid attack, has turned the most horrific chapter of her life into a narrative of triumph today. Once known as an acid attack survivor, she is now a mother, symbolising courage, hope and love for life.
A young and beautiful girl with a dream in her eyes,with a passion for singing, Laxmi had won many talent hunt competitions and was waiting for a call from ‘Indian Idol’. In 2005 , Laxmi Agarwal, only 15 years old, became the victim of an acid attack. She was attacked in Khan Market, Delhi by a 32-year-old man whose advances she had rejected.
Channelling her anger into action, Laxmi became a crusader for banning the sale of acid; she started speaking for the rights of acid attack victims & a campaigner for 'Stop Acid Attacks'. Raising awareness about acid attacks, and pressuring legal bodies to take strict action against it, has become one of Laxmi’s foremost responsibilities.
She is the director of the ‘Chhanv Foundation’, an NGO dedicated to helping the survivors of acid attacks in India. Through her foundation, she now counsels the patients on the right procedures to follow in case of an attack. She even encourages the public to donate skin. She has made it her life’s mission, to help acid attack survivors find jobs, and lead independent and dignified lives.
Awards and Accomplishments
Awards and Accomplishments
Laxmi Agarwal received the ‘International Women of Courage’ Award in 2014 by the former US First Lady Michelle Obama & was also chosen as the ‘NDTV Indian of the Year’.
She has become the voice of the survivors of acid attacks across the world & has received multiple awards for her work in curbing the sale of acid in India & rehabilitating the survivors through her foundation.
In 2006 she filed a PIL on punishments against perpetrators of acid violence and regulation on sale of acid in India. The PIL got a judgement in her favour in 2013 and the amendments in the constitutions were framed as ‘Laxmi Act’.
She was also awarded the prestigious ‘Mother Teresa Award’ in 2018.
She was honoured on the famous show ‘India’s Next Superstar’ for her exemplary courage and contribution to society– where her life story was portrayed through an act.
Why Laxmi Agarwal ?
Laxmi’s story is not just another acid attack survival story, but a symbol of hope and courage. After encouraging other acid attack survivors in India to come forward with their stories, Laxmi’s own inspirational story was told through the country’s biggest medium: a Bollywood film adaptation called ‘Chhapaak’ directed by Meghna Gulzar starring Deepika Padukone in 2020.
She is often invited by many corporations, schools, colleges and other institutions for motivational talks. She even hosted a TV Show called ‘Udaan’ that aired on News Express which focused on her journey.
She has helped more than 100 victims of acid attacks all over India by providing assistance with treatment, legal aid, counselling and rehabilitation and becoming the face of the unprivileged acid attack surviving women in India.
As a survivor who managed to carve her own identity in a ruthless world, Laxmi Agarwal is an ambassador for millions of social voices, emphasising the power of inner beauty and inspiring people by sharing her compelling tale of survival.