Saturday, 10 July 2010

The bravery of Katie Piper

Last week I was privileged to meet Katie Piper. Katie was a model who was horrifically disfigured in an acid attack by her ex-boyfriend. We were both among the guest speakers at a ‘Smiles Better’ fundraising event in Birmingham organized by the charity Islamic Help, which does fantastic work for acid burns victims across South Asia. Although Katie has done lots of interviews this was her first public speaking engagement and her courage was an inspiration to all of us lucky enough to hear her. Katie was one of the first people to benefit from pioneering new surgery and the organizers of the dinners are hoping to raise money in order to train doctors in South Asia in the latest techniques.

Acid throwing is a particularly vicious crime, all the more distressing because invariably it is committed by someone close to the victim. In some South Asian countries there are encouraging signs of public opposition, but there is still a long way to go before it is completely eradicated. Charities like Islamic Help, and brave victims like Katie Piper, are doing their bit to bring that day closer.