A venue where a new wave of feminism evolves every day to overcome the challenges faced by women in South-Asian societies and cultures.

When I stepped into Sheroes Hangout, I was oblivious of my surroundings and the history this little cafe holds. I left their hangout completely full — with all the inspiring stories I managed to digest that afternoon.

Situated by the roadside of Fatehabad in Agra (opposite the 5-star The Gateway Hotel), Sheroes Hangout has become the beacon of light for many acid attack victims in India. Aside from providing shelter, Sheroes also offers opportunities for these women victims to have another chance at life: to become cooks, cafe managers, waitresses, artists, and entrepreneurs. They become renewed and more empowered women whose voices matter in the society.

Acid throwing is still very much prevalent in some parts of India. Most of these unfortunate cases happen in scenarios where these women reject the marriage proposals or sexual advances by men in their local communities. These attackers use sulfuric/nitric acids and they throw them on women with the intention of damaging and burning their most prized physical asset, their faces. More than the scarred faces, these horrific traumas create deep scars in their already lowly lives.

At the cafe, Rajat (my travel concierge) and I ordered masala drinks and some deep-fried snacks. I must say, their food was delicious! I was told that these dishes don’t have any price tags in the menu as you are free to donate any amount of money instead in exchange for the food you just ate.

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After months/years of hiding in the closet, afraid of getting ridiculed by the society, these exceptional women have found a new sense of confidence and are now slowly getting their lives back with the beautiful smiles on their faces.

Sheroes Hangout is an initiative of Stop Acid Attack organization. Tel: +91 562 400 0401. 


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RandomRepublika.com: Paolo Avis

Living abroad for more than half a decade now, Paolo works in Singapore as a sales and marketing manager for a luxury travel publication. His creative urges can’t always be contained, hence photography, video documentaries, and blogging are his go-to forms of artistic release. Since he didn’t get to pursue TV production after getting a degree in Communication, Paolo now turns to Random Republika as an outlet to keep himself updated and to share his thoughts on what’s happening in showbiz and beyond. Follow his other stories via Instagram (@bigbluefish).

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