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Gandhiji was right. An eye for an eye will make the world blind," says Ria Sharma, founder of Make Love Not Scars, a Delhi-based non-profit that provides support to acid attack survivors through intervention and rehabilitation.

Inspired by Gandhi’s non-violent yet impact-driven approach, the 26-year-old started her organization while making a documentary on the lives of acid attack survivors when she was in her third year at UK’s Leeds Arts University. “After meeting the survivors in India, I realized a documentary would be of no immediate help," she says. Sharma, then 21, decided to abandon the idea of a documentary and instead established Make Love Not Scars. “The survivors, their strength, courage and will to live inspired me. They are still my prime inspiration for everything I do," she says.

Setting up the platform, however, wasn’t easy. Sharma says people dismissed her ideas because of her age and gender. “It was hard enough being young and not having prior knowledge in this field, but because I was a woman as well, it was hard to get people to take me seriously," she recalls.

Sharma stayed the course, though. “My role models were and are the everyday women who choose to rise above their circumstances and prove that they are capable of being what they want to be and not what society expects them to be. They are breaking barriers and are setting standards for future generations," she says. It’s similar to what Gandhi did, she adds: “He taught us lessons that we will forever use in our lives."


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