This is the footage from a fashion show organised by British charity ActionAid on International Women's Day that showcased the confidence of models scarred in acid attacks as well as beautiful clothes.

 

The catwalk show in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on 8th March featured 15 models who have suffered acid being thrown in their faces by people including jealous or abusive partners and rejected suitors.

 

Leading the fashion parade was Sonali Khatun, just 13 years old. She was scarred as a baby in a family argument over land.

 

Her injuries led to her having eight operations and spending around three years undergoing hospital treatment.

 

She told the crowd at the Beauty Redefined show organised by British charity ActionAid of her career plans, saying: "I want to be a doctor."

 

Her optimism was greeted with wild applause.

 

Another land row was behind the disfigurement of fellow model Asma Khatun, 33.

 

In 2008 someone poured acid on her, her year-old daughter and two other family members.

 

She said: "The attackers were never caught but my whole family had to endure a lot of suffering. I am so thrilled to be here."

 

Another model, Ganga Dasi, told reporters how she felt after having acid thrown in her face 23 years ago at the age of 17 after she turned down a man’s request to marry her.

 

She said: "I lost all hope to live. No one came forward to help us. I am now more confident. I will not hide my face any more."

 

Bangladesh ActionAid boss Farah Kabir said of the models: "They have come a long way."

 

Fashion designer Bibi Russell said: "This is something really close to my heart. I want them to have recognition. Let them have life as a part of this world."

 

Bangladesh has had a capital punishment for acid throwers since 2002, as well as restriction on the distribution of acid, but the practice of disfiguring women in this way continues.

 

Motives include anger at dowries not being high enough, romantic rejections and land arguments.

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Author: Gabriel Zamfir