In October 2012 Chanchal Paswan was attacked with acid as she slept alongside her 15-year-old sister, Sonam, who is partially-sighted, at their home in a village ten miles from Patna in the state of Bihar, where her father is a day labourer. Her attackers were four young men, one of whom had proposed to her a year earlier and who was apparently angered by her rejection. Chanchal's face, neck, chest and back were completely burned in the attack. Her sister was injured too and will also likely be scarred for life.Five years later, in June 2017, Chanchal suddenly passed away due to medical complications. She lost her nostils during the attack and ever since then had enormous breathing issues. In June this year Chanchal's physical condition became worse and she died in the rikshaw on the way to the hospital due to multi-organ-failure. Her parents and sister Sonam are left behind with endless grief and sadness. Since she was attacked in 2012, Chanchal tried her best to find a way back to a life worth living- in a country in which women in general face discrimination and 'scarred' people lose their dignity and standing in the community . She continued her studies, had several surgeries, and tried to help her poor family as best as she could. Her father, Shalesh Paswan, is a day labourer, mainly working as a gardener in the city centre of Patna. He travels every day around 30 miles with his old bicycle to make a living for his family. Chanchal's family is living amongst the very poor community in the Indian State of Bihar. Pilgrim Vision e.V. is collecting financial support for Chanchal's family to give them at least a little bit of relief in this very hard and challenging time. Chanchal wasn't only the lifeline of her family, she was a perspective earner. In an area, where jobs are hard to find and the daily life is more or less a huge struggle, Chanchal was determined to work hard to support her family.
What will happen with the funds?
Our chairwoman Yamina worked with Chanchal and her family on a documentary film.What once started in 2014 with a documentary film project about acid attacks in India, developed into a deep friendship. Yamina will travel to Bihar as soon as possible and meet the family to handover the donations personally. The donations will be used to pay for all funeral related expenses, as well as for Chanchal's 'Shraaddha', which according to the Hindu religion is the ritual that one performs to pay homage after someone died. It is a way for people to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks towards their ancestors, for having helped them to be what they are and praying for their peace. It also can be thought of as a "day of remembrance." We wish that Chanchal's family has the chance to remember Chanchal and arrange those traditional Hindu rites in the upcoming months. Furthermore, the donations will help the family to clear a bit of their debts and give them some sort of peace- at least for a while. Money can't alleviate their pain and grief, but it can give them space and freedom. They deserve it.