After she was attacked with acid, this 18-year-old became a voice for change.
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You may remember Reshma Quereshi from the Make Love Not Scars campaign.

The campaign came from an Indian nonprofit that supports survivors of acid attacks, and I covered it for Upworthy in September.

Quereshi starred in one-minute, lighthearted, cheerful videos offering beauty tips just like any other makeup tutorial. Until, that is, she shared just how easy it is for would-be attackers to procure strong acid in India.


GIFS via Make Love Not Scars/YouTube.

Public Radio International traveled to Mumbai to catch up with Quereshi 18 months after the attack that changed her life.

Since her attack in the spring of 2014, Quereshi has been on a long, difficult road to recovery.

In May 2014, Quereshi was doused with sulphuric acid by her brother-in-law and a group of his friends after her sister decided to leave him. The first hospital she went to turned her away, telling her it was a police matter, not a medical one, a decision that probably cost Quereshi her left eye.

Image via Public Radio International/YouTube.

She underwent multiple skin grafts to repair her face and eye socket and still has many many surgeries to go.

"My head hurts. My scalp hurts. They've taken skin from all over my body to rebuild my face," Quereshi told PRI through a translator.

When she ventures outside, Quereshi feels each and every stare.

The gazes from strangers are cruel and biting. It is torture — much like the lingering pain she feels from the acid attack and subsequent procedures. This unwanted scrutiny and shame were simply insults added to injury.

Image via Public Radio International/YouTube.

But with the help of other survivors and the support of her family, Quereshi is speaking out.

Through her physician, Quereshi met a fellow acid-attack survivor who was in worse shape than she was.

"I look at this girl and looking at her pain and her situation actually took me outside of myself for the first time," she said.

An estimated 1500 acid attacks are recorded each year and 349 in India alone.

There are thousands of women just like Quereshi who are left with physical and emotional scars from these cruel, painful crimes. Many don't leave home, hiding out inside, away from unwanted attention. Meanwhile, perpetrators of acid attacks often go unpunished.

Image via Public Radio International/YouTube.

Though she was hesitant about her appearance, the injustice was too much to bear, and Quereshi decided to speak out.

"These boys, they look at a pretty face and they can't have it, and they throw acid in her face, and they spoil an entire life. And the ones who did this are running around free. [While] we're the ones confined to a room."

Since they debuted, Quereshi's videos garnered over 1.8 million views! And the petition to limit the sale of sulphuric acid in India now boasts more than 273,000 signatures. It's forward momentum, and Quereshi is leading the way.

She's come a long way since the brutal attack, and she looks forward to helping other survivors.

She still gets stares when she leaves her home. But Quereshi's not going to let that stop her from making a difference.

She hopes to continue to be a voice for survivors. The incident forced her to reevaluate what strength and beauty really mean. It's a challenge for anyone in that situation, especially a teenager.

But Quereshi is assertive and she carries herself with a grace and poise generally reserved for someone much older than her 18 years, telling PRI:

"What matters is what's on the inside. What matters is your heart. If you're heart's clean, your face will reflect it in a different way."

Learn more about Qreshi's life since the incident in this stirring video from Public Radio International.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."