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Mumbai acid attack survivor's wish to send daughter to school comes true

Two years after Mabiya Mandal’s husband threw acid at her, blinding her, the survivor finally realised the dream of having her daughter enrolled in an English-medium school

On Monday, Anisha Mandal, a beamy five-year-old attended school for the first time. While this is a given for many children her age or younger, Anisha’s mother has beaten brutal odds to live to see this day.

Dr Vijay Patil, president of D Y Patil University, with Anisha Mandal and her grandfather Saurabuddin
Dr Vijay Patil, president of D Y Patil University, with Anisha Mandal and her grandfather Saurabuddin

In December last year, mid-day had reported how Mabiya Mandal, then 21, was fighting to survive after her husband had flung acid at her the year before, while she was sleeping. She lost her vision and her face, and has since had 12 reconstructive surgeries.

But despite the mental and physical scars, only acutely aggravated by her lean finances, she was insistent that she wanted to see her daughter attend an English-medium school.

mid-day’s cover story on December 11, 2013
mid-day’s cover story on December 11, 2013

After her story was published in this paper, many of our readers came forward to donate generously, and a couple of engineering students even helped trace Anisha’s birth certificate for the admission process.

On Monday, all of their collective contribution and efforts paid off when Anisha went to Vidya Bhavan High School in Nerul, to attend her first class in junior kindergarten.

Ever since the dreadful assault some two years ago, Mabiya has been under treatment at Nerul’s DY Patil Hospital, where the authorities have adopted her as well as her daughter, who stays with Mabiya at the facility.

“I am extremely happy and thankful to the hospital authorities and to the people who donated money for my child’s education. I always wanted my daughter to get enrolled in an English-medium school. She is good at studies and wants to become a police officer,” said Mabiya, who suffered grade IV burns on her face.

Dr Vijay Patil, president of DY Patil University, said, “Mabiya is being looked after by the plastic surgery department. We are waiting for the condition of her eyelids to improve, after which we will conduct an ophthalmic surgery, and attempt to restore her vision and reconstruct her nose.

There is a very good chance that her eyesight will be restored. We have also decided to support Anisha’s education till the time she wishes to study.” Doctors further said that the survivor would be operated and discharged within a span of six months.

Dr Shyam More, deputy medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “Apart from Mabiya’s medical expenses we are also looking at her rehabilitation, so she can be independent when she leaves this facility.

The president of the university has played a vital role in supervising and handling her case. Without his support, her accommodation for the past two years wouldn’t have been possible.”

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