10 June 2014, Dhaka. Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) observed its 15th anniversary with the slogan “15 years of success and fight to prevent acid violence” on 31 May 2014. ASF has been working in preventing and raising awareness on acid violence since 1999. The organisation stepped into 16 years of its founding in May this year. Acid violence has declined as a result of a collaborative effort, ASF believes, but the organisation strives to bring the rate of acid violence down to zero.
The programme started with a welcome note from Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Chairperson, Trustee Board, ASF. Selina Ahmed, Executive Director, ASF highlighted the achievement and obstacles that the organisation faced in 15 years of its journey.
The programme was held in the LGED auditorium of the capital. Present as chief guests were Dr Shamanto Lal Sen, Plastic Surgeon and a founding member of ASF; Advocate Salma Ali, Executive Director, Bangladesh National Women’s Lawyers Association; Selim Ahmed, Former Chairman of Unicef Staff Association; Abdul Quayum, Associate Editor, Prothom Alo; Mr. Asif Saleh, Senior Director, BRAC; Ferdousi Akter, representative of acid survivors, member, Board of Trustee, ASF.
ASF honoured a total of 29 organisations and individuals for their support and contribution over the years. Late Ivy Rahman, Dr Shamanto lal Sen, Abdul Quayum, Advocate Salma Ali and Asif Saleh were among the awardees.
Professor Momtaz Megum, Chairperson, Bangladesh National Women’s Association, accepted the award on behalf of Ivy Rahman. She expressed her gratitude and wished to continue working with ASF. Dr Shamanto Lal Sen in his speech, outlined the history of ASF and expressed his appreciation towards the acid survivors.
Advocate Salma Ali, in her speech said ASF can be considered an inspiration for acid survivor foundations around the world. She also stressed on the need for accountability from government in order to implement laws better.
Next to address was Asif Saleh, Senior Director, BRAC. He spoke of the resilience of acid survivors and how only in unity one can find the inspiration to work for change. He urged ASF to consider its future plans after it is done tackling acid violence.
The anniversary programme ended following cake cutting and cultural programme organised by survivors.