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USAID Honors Survivors and Heroes of Gender-Based Violence
December 1, 2014


32-year-old Nadia Bano is from the Punjab area of Pakistan. Nadia had been a happily married woman with three children. But everything changed when her brother refused to marry Nadia’s sister-in-law, causing her-in-laws to throw acid on her face due to their frustration and anger.

Her face was severely burnt, and she lost one of her ears. In Pakistan acid attacks are predominantly against women, although there are a few attacks on men. After 4 years and 17 surgeries, Nadia recovered physically, but not psychologically.

In Nadia’s words, “I didn’t want people to pity me, all I desired was for someone to help me find a job so I could actually be able to feed my children.” During one of her treatment sessions in Islamabad, a doctor told her about USAID’s Gender Equity Program The program provides small grants to Pakistani organizations to fund projects that expand access to justice for women, increase knowledge of women’s rights and combat gender-based violence.

Under the USAID project, Nadia took part in a “Visual Arts Expression” workshop and learned the art of taking photographs. As a part of the training, she also was given a camera. She had always wanted to capture and praise the beauty of others through her camera, and she is now using her new skills to do so, and earn an income.

“I was keen to use my skill to spread smiles across my community which I am able to do now,” Nadia said. She is hopeful that in the near future she will be able to start her own professional photography and events management business, so she can continue to capture happy moments for her family and friends.