Jyoti Barua journey with ASF

Jyoti Barua journey with ASF

What’s it like being a legal officer at ASF?

Former legal officer Jyoti Barua shares her experience

I joined ASF early 2021 as a Legal Officer. The thought of shouldering the responsibility to bring justice to survivors who otherwise had limited access to it was nerve-racking at the least. But I took on the challenge anyway determined to stand by the affected.

Right off the bat, I was thrown off balance at the beginning with the report of a new acid case. I was on my feet without a moment’s delay, gathered the survivors’ contact details, pinpointed their whereabouts, and made my way to the hospital they checked in. Upon briefing them on ASF and its works, we were in the patient compartment of ASF’s ambulance with the survivors in no time heading back to the head office. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Washed over with fear, anxiety, and what-ifs and still swift-footed and laser-focused on my task. My sense of duty got me through that day and the months that followed.

Legal counseling plays a pivotal role for willing survivors in seeking justice. The legal unit of ASF had done exemplary work guiding survivors in this regard. Even in lockdowns, ASF continued providing legal counseling over the phone. And as restrictions relaxed, survivors poured in from across the country and I had the privilege to bump into a few and know the intricacies of their cases. The conclusion to each story was often the same–the battle for justice is incredibly taxing and slow in progress. It takes immense courage and love for life to push through all odds to come anywhere close to the survivors.

It’s a challenging role–legal officer, and the journey to justice is often rowdy. Each case weighs on you heavily every step of the way, your patience is tested time and time again, and when the going gets especially tough your only saving grace is the thought that your work will bring some sort of closure to the survivors.

I truly believe in ASF’s dream to rid Bangladesh from acid violence once and for all, and uplift survivors to live with dignity. And wish ASF is able to scale up its services and expand its outreach gradually. I encourage readers to donate to ASF’s cause and lend their hands in all possible ways to realize its goals. Contact them by phone or email if you’d like to explore ways you could get involved in the fight.

Farzana Neela journey With ASF

Farzana Neela journey With ASF

Stories to take to the world

Intern Farzana Neela reflects on her journey writing survivor case stories

I interned at ASF for 2 months writing survivor case stories in Bangla. During this time one thing consistently left me in awe–how survivors could narrate their painful stories and still paint half a smile across their face at the end and say they were doing okay. Genuine or not I couldn’t tell, and it wasn’t for me to decide either. I wrote as they told, peering over my glasses now and again reading their expressions.

The stories made it clear that they were pushed around by society like they didn’t matter or worse like they were a nuisance. How it scarred them and left them feeling empty and constantly at the brink of mental collapse. But they bounced back every time, usually because they had children to look after or more commonly because they were in search for the silver lining. Hopeful that this life was still worth living. I found myself teetering between tears and anger, anger at the perpetrators after each session.

I am alive today for ASF, survivors would chime in. A second home, they would say. After multiple encounters with survivors, it became apparent why they held ASF so close to their hearts. ASF’s services were of high quality and the only organization deeply concerned about their wellbeing.

I am truly grateful for the experience. I wish to take the stories of anguish, loss, and resilience I had gathered to the world in the hopes that it will teach the youth like myself to strive and have each other’s back through thick and thin.