18 years on Massarat continues to support acid burn victims helping them find some meaning in life

Zubair Qureshi

At an intense but quite awe-inspiring discussion Founder of the Deplix Smileagain Foundation (DSF) Massarat Misbah shared with the audience her journey of standing by the victims of acid burns, sexual abuse, mostly women who have been treated harshly by husbands, fathers or members of the family.

The event was held in connection with the International Women’s Day at the Serena Hotel on Tuesday.

Ambassador of Germany Bernhard Schlagheck was the Chief Guest on the occasion while Chairman of the National Vocational And Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) Syed Javed Hassan also expressed his views on the occasion.

Founded in 2003, DSF has helped several victims of gender-based violence (GBV) not only by treating their wounds but also by helping them find some source of livelihood.

For this purpose Misbah who runs a chain of salons under the name Deplix across the country has made it mandatory for all the franchisers to give priority to victims of GBV.

Not only this, she has also been arranging vocational and technical training for them thus re-enkindling in them a ray of hope and they return to normal life though after quite a struggle and support.

While appreciating Massarat Misbah’s incredible work in supporting the victims of the GBV particularly those of acid burns, Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck said the gender-based violence was a silent global epidemic and no part of the world was free of it.

However, he made it clear in European Union’s policy there was zero tolerance for GBV.

He held there were a number of factors like unequitable distribution of sources, under-age marriages, typical mindset, and others behind GBV.

German embassy will be happy to support you in this noble cause, assured Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck to Misbah.

Syed Javed Hassan also termed the work being carried out by Misbah quite ‘awe-inspiring’ and heart-touching.

He also assured her all kinds of technical and vocational training support to the victims of GBV who come to her for a new life.

General Manager of Serena Hotel, Michel Galopin said Serena Hotel was proud to host the event at its premises as the management believed in equal representation of women at all forms and in all sectors.

In Serena Hotel, when I joined in 2006 6pc of the total staff were women but now after some fourteen years, though I had set a target of 20 pc we could make it 14 pc which is more than double, he said.

Masarrat Misbah shared a number of success stories, women who had come to her in shattered form with acid burns on their face and body but later, they not only started working at her salons or at other places but also returned to normal life.

This gives me an immense sense of satisfaction when I look at these girls living a normal life, she said.

Of these victims of GBV, 4 have become nurses, one is a lawyer and one has done M.Phil and is now doing her PhD, she said to the sheer joy of the audience.