In the current, fast paced, instagram, influencer driven society we live in, our aspirations to look our best can sometimes mean we can start to lose a sense of our well being and how lucky we are. At Rejuvence we are firm believers in always trying to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. At the inception of the Rejuvence brand, the two co-founders, Dr Ruhul Amin and Dr Samuel Ghani, made a point to ensure that they link the clinic to charitable causes that they passionately believe in.
The rise of acid attacks
Over the last few years there has been an unfortunate rise in the incidence of acid attacks in and around the inner London areas. There have been numerous cases of individuals being targeted by masked perpetrators riding mopeds and throwing corrosive liquids at unsuspecting members of the public. Motives behind these attacks are varied but the intended consequences of such a cowardly act are to inflict pain and injuries that leave a lifelong scar on the victims face and body.
Acid Violence in Bangladesh
Acid violence is not a new phenomenon and has been a thorn in many societies around the world for many years. Both Dr Amin and Dr Ghani are of Bangladeshi heritage. Acid violence was rife in Bangladesh during the 1990s. Often it was seen as a crime that could easily be perpetrated with little recompense to justice. The effects of such attacks would often be life changing.
The usual motive of attacks involved young men attacking young, attractive women, who had rejected marriage proposals and/or sexual advances. These women would often be attacked in the middle of the night with the specific focus of the attacks being their face and chest. The attackers would intend to permanently disfigure their victims – ‘if I can’t have you then no one will have you’.
The resulting injuries were appalling with women suffering horrendous burns to their face and chest. With limited specialist burns units in Bangladesh, and most women often being from poor socioeconomic backgrounds, they had little recourse to medical care and would be forced to live a life of loneliness. Society’s reaction was initially to consider them outcasts – ‘they must have done something to deserve that’.
The Acid Survivors Foundation
In 1999 the Acid Survivors Foundation was formed to champion the rights of the victims of acid violence. Their remit was twofold: (1) To establish a multi-disciplinary support service for victims of acid violence providing free surgical treatment, rehabilitation and psychological support; and (2) to lobby the government to enforce prison sentences to convicted acid violence perpetrators as well as provide free legal assistance to the victims.
In both regards the ASF has been a resounding success! Thanks to the heroic dedication of prominent local and internationally renowned plastic surgeons, physiotherapists, psychologists and barristers as well as generous donations, the incidence of acid violence in Bangladesh has been significantly reduced and severe enforced prison sentences for the attackers are in practice. Indeed they have been used as a model to introduce sister establishments in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Cambodia and Uganda. They have a branch in London as well, where this fantastic work is being continued and championing the rights of acid attack victims to ‘reclaim their beauty’.
Acid violence closer to home
Unfortunately with a decline of acid violence in Bangladesh we have seen an increase in the UK, and especially in and around East London. Acid violence is nothing new. In 2008, aspiring model, Katie Piper, was attacked with acid by her ex-partner. This resulted in devastating full thickness burns to her face and blinded her in one eye, essentially ending her modeling career. She was treated at Charing Cross Burn’s Unit by Mr Mohammad Jawad, who conducted a revolutionary reconstructive procedure. Almost 40 procedures later, Miss Piper has made a fantastic recovery and champions the cause of acid violence victims across the UK.
Our personal experiences of acid violence
In 2003, as a medical student, Dr Ghani, visited the ASF in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to conduct some research for Professor Peter Butler. Dr Ghani spent 2 months at their regional centre – Thikhana House – where he interacted with acid attack victims. He got to know their stories and developed friendships and learned to look beyond their scars and pain to see their ‘inner beauty’. Dr Ghani was humbled by the incredible inner strength of the incredible women and children he met at Thikhana House. The ASF as an organisation, is truly remarkable. As well as providing medical, psychological and legal support, the ASF empowered these unfortunate women to provide them with new skills and to help reintegrate into society.
‘Beauty is more than skin deep.’
At Rejuvence we are committed to providing our clients with rejuvenating and enhancing treatments to restore some lustre and shape, where this is lost through the passage of time. However, we are conscious always to provide some context to this.
True beauty is eternal and goes beyond just what is seen. We believe the courage and strength of acid attack victims around the world is testament to this. Through the work carried out by the ASF, it is clear that the victims of acid violence are not victims! They are Acid Survivors who have reclaimed their beauty! There is much to be learnt from this and we hope we can introduce all those who visit our establishment to the achievements of these incredible young women…
Donations and charitable contributions
At Rejuvence we are extremely passionate about this cause. We would be delighted if all our clients would be generous enough to make donations to the Acid Survivors Foundation when they visit our clinic. We are also keen to establish a partnership with the ASF. Through the treatment of almost 700 acid attack survivors, the ASF have become extremely skilled at manufacturing compression garments for burns wounds. These are worn following surgery to prevent excessive scarring.
Similar compression garments are recommended for use after our J-Plazty procedures for skin tightening of the neck, arms and abdomen. We also use similar garments following mini-facelift procedures with PDO threads. Working with the ASF we aim to provide all our J-Plazty, VASER liposuction and PDO threads clients with garments manufactured by the ASF. Rejuvence clinic will match the garment cost and forward all proceeds to the ASF.
We would be delighted if you would help us in this noble endeavour.