#SkillsNotScars: MLNS & Ogilvy build the world’s first job portal for acid attack survivors

In the video-driven campaign by NGO Make Love Not Scars, acid-attack survivors present their skills to potential employers through a CV with a twist – a Video CV


When an acid attack survivor begins sharing beauty tips in a video series, you know it’s satire at its effective best. The brutality of scarring a woman’s face forever, so no amount of makeup can ever make up for it, sadly, goes unpunished in this country. Concentrated acid is available off your local store – the cheapest and quickest way to clean toilets in India.

Last year, an NGO that supports victims of acid attacks, Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), filed a petition to end acid sale in India in association with Ogilvy & Mather through its powerful, award-winning campaign, ‘#EndAcidSale’. In a series of films, Reshma Bano Quereshi, an acid attack survivor was seen giving beauty tips on applying eye liner, lipstick and getting rid of dark spots.

Towards the end of her tips, she made a satirical point comparing acid with cosmetics – how it takes two minutes to put on blush, but just 3 seconds to scar a face forever; how finding the right shade of lipstick is harder than buying concentrated acid in the market, how cosmetics are available for INR 100, whereas acid was at just INR 30. Read ‘Acid Attack Survivor Shares Beauty Tips In Petition Campaign #EndAcidSale.

The videos went viral on the social web. ‘#EndAcidSale’ campaign won a Glass Lion and two Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016, France. Reshma Bano Quereshi also walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week this year.

Meanwhile, the petition is ongoing, despite the Supreme Court order to regulate its over-the-counter availability. MLNS is now looking to benefit the cause of acid-attack survivors.

MLNS has now rolled out #SkillsNotScars, building on the worldwide success of its #EndAcidSale campaign. Ogilvy & Mather has launched this powerful new campaign to help find jobs for acid-attack survivors, and the modus operandi is the same.

The acid-attack survivors speak for themselves and that’s what makes this so much more powerful. In the video-driven #SkillsNotScars campaign, acid-attack survivors present their skills to potential employers through a CV with a twist – a Video CV.

After stating standard information about themselves and their skills, these women end their Video CV by saying that they could have well emailed a written out CV like any other candidate, but they created a Video CV so that their potential employer could also see their acid-scarred faces, and they hoped that this will not be the barrier for their employers.

This is Mamta’s CV, she is a 27-year-old trained beautician with experience of working at a beauty parlour:

This is Basanti Devi’s CV, a 49-year-old babysitter:

The Video CVs take viewers and potential employers to a page that is a one-of-a-kind online Employment Exchange for hiring various acid-attack survivors. Visitors can choose to hire them or share their video CVs with their social connections. As of now, the job portal houses 9 video CVs with cooks, tailors, marketing professionals and even RJs on hire.

A ‘Donate now’ tab takes you to the campaign fundraiser page where one can help the NGO with funds to realize its vision - that of rehabilitating acid attack survivors with medical and legal aid, finding them stable employment and getting back their place and dignity in society.

MLNS is spreading the word on social media. The campaign also sees interesting pieces of content in the form of funny videos. Comedian Tanmay Bhat in association with Buzzfeed India features in a fun workplace video with Mamta as his work BFF. Watch the two have a great time at work conversing with each other without a single exchange of words!

A meaningful extension campaign meets smart execution

Acceptance in society and attaining financial freedom is the best possible way for an acid attack victim to turn into an acid attack survivor. By hiring them we help them fight back, fight the unfairness they have had to deal with and give them a feeling of being ‘wanted’ and ‘useful contributors’ to society. #SkillsNotScars is the meaningful extension of last year’s #EndAcidSale campaign, besides it aligns well with the vision of Make Love Not Scars, that of rehabilitating acid attack victims.

The video CVs are uniquely powerful in themselves, the survivors speak about their skills and work experience, and never once do they make an attempt to evoke your sympathy. Their  confidence, courage and the willingness to find employment and be able contributors through their skills is proof enough they will be good employees, maybe even better. By creating the online job portal for them, Make Love Not Scars has built a fine digital asset for themselves that will give compounded returns over the years to help fund its vision in entirety.

#SkillsNotScars can be summed up as a noble concept meeting smart execution by an NGO using the power of social media. Do hire a survivor or help spread their CV.