IMPACT

Acid Attack Survivors Pose As 'Calendar Girls' To Redefine Beauty

03/13/2015 06:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 20, 2015

You don't see too many burns on the faces of calendar models, but that's exactly why the women featured in "Bello" are smiling big for the camera.

The calendar -- featuring women who survived acid attacks -- was created as part of the Stop Acid Attacks campaign by the Chhanv Foundation in India, Quartz reported. Funds raised from the sales are expected to help the rehabilitation of Indian survivors of the crime.

"In a society as insensitive as ours, it doesn't take much for the acid attack victims to lose their self-confidence," the calendar's website states, noting the calendar was launched in recognition of International Women's Day on March 8. "Apathy of the attackers give birth to the acid attack. The apathy of relatives, 'friends' and neighbors generates burns everyday. The calendar shoot aids the society to broaden the interpretation of beauty."

Models featured in the calendar also help run a cafe in Agra, India, called Sheroes’ Hangout.

According to Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), there are roughly 1,500 documented acid attacks every year, as BBC reported, and the majority of them occur in India. It's also a gender-based crime, as experts believe 75 to 80 percent of acid attack victims are women and girls.

Women may be targeted for a variety of reasons -- from denying sexual advances by men to attempting to access education.

Photographer Rahul Saharan, who captured images for the calendar, told The Huffington Post he was happy to be part of the project because it made the girls feel "confident, courageous and strong."

He noted that everyone has a responsibility to empower women like those featured in his photos.

"They are fighters," he told HuffPost in an email. "It's up to us -- we make them victims or we make them fighters."

Saharan, who has photographed acid attack survivors before, became involved in the project through volunteering organization Paltan, which helped bring the project to life.

Scroll below to see the Bello calendar shot by photographers Surabhi Jaiswar, Pascal Mannaerts and Rahul Saharan. Click here to purchase a calendar.

  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Surabhi Jaiswar/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Pascal Mannaerts/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks
  • Rahul Saharan/Stop Acid Attacks

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misattributed photos by Pascal Mannaerts and Surabhi Jaiswar to Rahul Saharan. We regret the error.

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