|ASF’s rights-based campaign has led to many unprecedented institutional and policy reforms. Thanks to ASF's persistent efforts, Bangladesh is the only country to have enacted two laws in 2002—one that heightens criminal penalties and improves criminal procedures and another that controls the availability of acid. In order to implement these laws effectively, ASF works with the National Acid Control Council of the Government, the highest level inter ministerial body and its district committees. The National Acid Control Council and the Social Welfare Ministry have created a special fund to compensate the medical, legal and rehabilitation costs. However, survivors’ access to these resources is still insignificant. As such ASF’s role to advocate meeting the needs of each survivor remains as continuous process.
ASF’s multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder prevention campaign has contributed to significant reduction of the number of acid attacks over the years. Before the ASF prevention campaign started in 2002, there were over 500 recorded attacks. In 2010 the number decreased to around 153, which nevertheless remains a grave concern with one attack in every two and half days. The challenge is to sustain the downward trend and eliminate this violence of unspeakable nature.
The community-based psychosocial service is a new addition in the development arena. The Acid Survivors Foundation, through its partner organization Lighthouse and Manab Mukti Shangstha, started rendering this service since 2008. The districts of Sirajganj and Bogra top in acid violence and that is why these two districts have been chosen for extending this service. The 35-year-old Maneja in Bogra became a victim of acid violence by her second husband on 1 May 2007.Her whole body got burnt with acid. And with it, her marriage ended. The irony of fate is that she had to file a case against the person whom she married with dreams after the death of her first husband. Although she received medical treatment from Acid Survivors Foundation and recovered from her wound, yet she could not recover psychologically. Life's needs took her back to her own district Bogra. Maneja settled in her paternal house along with her only child Mustafa. She forgot about her own body and mind while tackling poverty and insecurity. When ASF went to visit Majena, it was observed that she has been living aloof from her neighbors. She has even lost the courage to go out of the house. The accused has, by then, secured bail and come out of jail and has been threatening her. The neighbors were also against Maneja. In place of extending a helping hand, they have cut down the trees she planted. She even could not rear poultry at her residence. Her only child was in college, but his studies also stopped. The mother and son have been living with all socio-economic obstacles. We can easily imagine what can happen to a person in this situation. The first time when pear educators and psychologists went to her house, Majena kept completely mum; she didn't speak a word, thinking that the accused would again strike. However, she started talking to them when pear educators visited her several times. Then, Maneja went through a series of psychological sessions at the community clinic. Her son was also included in the sessions. They started to change. Pear educators and psychologists also spoke to her neighbors at the same time. The discussions with the neighbors were organized in almost every month.ASF helped Maneja in a mortgage for her financial development. At first, no-one wanted to come to the discussion sessions. But slowly, the number of people started to increase in the discussions. The neighbors started become sincere about Maneja and visited her house Quite often. The person [Maneja] who was scared of going out had succeeded to get the accused arrested by the police when one day she cleverly called him at her residence. Her son is going to the college regularly. The surprising aspect is that it was possible to arrange discussion session at the residence of the accused. They were made to realize that acid violence is a crime. Both the victim and the family of the accused are suffering due to this. They also thought the same thing. We can change lives of thousands if we can continue like this and this is out objective.
Membership ( NACC/ Monitoring cell / Victim Support Center ,Men & Boys Network, Girl Child Forum , Interburns)