Prerna Gandhi is asking to recieve financial support to go to the University of Cincinnati while she continues her treatment. Here she tells her story:
It was a normal day and I was on a scooter with my friend, on my way home from tutoring. I was in tenth grade, just starting to figure out my life. Out of nowhere my world changed forever.
Two men, sent by my friend's aunt, threw acid on us to settle their family dispute. I fell to the ground, feeling as though half of my body was on fire, and stumbled through an open gate, screaming for help. A stranger took me in, poured water on my wounds and called my mom, who at first argued in disbelief. Only when the woman handed me the phone and told me to tell my mom that someone threw acid on me, did I begin to realize what had happened. My mom came and rushed me to the hospital, a place I would become all too familiar with over the next few years.
It was two weeks before I was alone in my hospital room and had the courage to look in the mirror. At first I could not believe that the burnt and disfigured face in the mirror was my own. I slowly reached up and touched my face, reality sank in, and I wanted to die. What kind of futurecould there be for a monster like me?
Over the next year I covered my face with a scarf and only left the house when I had to, usually for medical treatment. I was constantly in and out of the hospital, my brother had to skip school and my parents had to leave their social lives. I couldn't take the looks of horror, disgust, and worst of all, pity. I hated the words spoken to me.
"Oh you poor girl!"
"Is that Prerna Gandhi? She was in an acid attack! Better she had died"
Slowly, at the urging of my parents and the insistence of my friends, I began to leave home without my head scarf. It started with just a small walk to the market, and before I knew it I was going back to school. While I still encountered the looks of shock and pity, my friends at school reminded me that I was still Prerna. I could still build a future for myself. I had hope.
Now, three years later, I am in the United States receiving treatment. Being here has helped me realize the opportunities I have in the United States. While receiving treatment, I looked up colleges in Cincinnati and I am very interested in the DAAP program at UC. I am not completely sure which program I want to major in, so I have decided to apply for an exploratory program for now.
This attack has made me into the woman I am today, a strong independent young woman who wants to make a difference. Every day is still a struggle, but I strive to live up to my name. I am not the poor girl, not the victim, not the monster, not the girl who wished she had died. I am Prerna, the Hindi word which means - Inspiration.
Although my family in India is considered middle class, here they would be considered poor. This being true, I need help to make my dream of getting a good education in the United States come true. I am trying to raise $50,000, I know this is a lot, but just $5 can help. Please, help me raise money to go to college, and one day maybe change the world.
Here is my confirmation letter from U.C. : Prerna in 2011, just 3-4 days before her Acid Attack
- Adriana Flores
- Divya Narayan
- Anita Ram