Victim of acid attack pursues her dream

Almost 10 years ago, Monica Singh had her world turned upside down when she became a victim of an acid attack.

She was 19 and studying at the Institute of Fashion Technology in India.

A longtime suitor asked for her hand in marriage.   However, Singh was doing what she wanted: getting her education and pursuing a career in fashion. She declined his offer. 

"I was 19 years old. He wanted me to get married and leave everything behind," she said.

As she was driving one day, the man and four others flagged her car down. She recognized him, so she pulled over. Then the men threw acid all over her.

"Warm liquid came on me. So I thought somebody made a prank, or threw a hot coffee or something like that on me,” Singh explained.

Doctors weren't sure if she'd survive. Her torso and face were completely disfigured or disintegrated. Monica said her mom, dad and brother were there for her through it all.

Her father spent his life savings and took out loans for her reconstructive surgeries. Her mom covered the mirrors in their New Delhi home to protect her from psychological damage. 

"The doctor told my family that psychologically, I would get shattered if I see myself that way," Singh said.

After 46 surgeries, Singh is on track to complete what she started. 

"Anger is something that I don't want to waste any sort of energy over them. Right now my energy is to become a positive person, who I have become after a very long time," Singh said.

She is beginning her second year at Parson's School of Design in NYC where she studies fashion marketing.

The non-profit, Make Love Not Scars, helped Singh raise money for her two year program. Her dream is to become a New York-based fashion designer and open a business in India.

She and her brother also founded the Mahendra Singh Foundation named after their father, who recently passed. It is a nongovernmental organization that provides aid to acid attack victims, as well as other types of abuse.

"If something happens to anyone, that doesn't mean that it's the end of their life," Singh said.