Photo by Stephanie Sinclair @stephsinclairpix // Ritu Saini (foreground), 21, and Rupa, 23, enjoy monsoon rains on a roof in Agra, India. Both women are acid attack survivors. A disfiguring and sometimes deadly retributive act generally taken by, or on behalf of, men whose advances the women rejected, acid attacks disfigure hundreds of women and girls in India every year. Formerly a volleyball player, Ritu was attacked by her cousin. After several reconstructive surgeries, she lost her left eye. Rupa was attacked when she was 15. Ritu now spends her days educating people about acid attacks while working at Sheroes Hangout Cafe @sheroeshangout in Agra, India, which is staffed by acid attack survivors and supported by the group @StopAcidAttacks. The group advocates for policies to help acid attack survivors.
Today it was announced that I am the recipient of this year’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, granted each year to a female photographer since Anja’s tragic death in Afghanistan in 2014 by the International Women's Media Foundation @theiwmf. It is a tremendous, if bittersweet, honor to win an award in Anja’s name. I’ve long been moved by IWMF’s mission to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. Today, I feel this is needed more than ever. I am humbled and proud that the jury would recognize my photojournalism in this way and be one of the women journalists supported and empowered by this prestigious organization. I am grateful for the awareness such a high profile honor will bring to the stories I shared in my application, including Ritu’s above, which was made on assignment last year for @natgeo. It is a privilege to share the stories of the women and girls who truly deserve an award for their courage. #women#girls#iwmf#sheroes#stopacidattacks