For compassionate action
The Spring 2002 Mead Award – the final such Award to be given in conjunction with the Mead Centennial celebration – was awarded to the Sambhavna Trust. The Awards honour organisations that reflect Mead’s sense of the relevance of anthropology to social action: groups that have demonstrated effective, imaginative, compassionate actions on race, gender, culture, environmental justice, child rearing and self-empowerment within communities. The Sambhavna Trust was given this award for exemplifying Margaret Mead’s famous words: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.’
On October 8th of the same year the hugely influential Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a Sambhavna study which for the first time proved conclusively that even children conceived and born after the disaster have been affected by the gases breathed by their parents. It shows that there are potentially thousands of such children who will need special medical attention and care (possibly all their lives) raising the question of compensation.
It also adds to the scientific knowledge of methyl isocyanate, corroborating a 1987 animal study done by Dr Daya Varma at McGill University, Montreal. In 1985 the Indian Council of Medical Research had begun a study similar to ours and found differences in anthropomorphic measurements. That study was wound up incomplete in 1992 despite praise from the Chairman of the Scientific Commission on Bhopal in 1988 and the pleas of the principal investigator that it be allowed to continue until the children reached puberty.
Our study fills this crucial gap and demonstrates the value of what you and all of us together, saat saat saat – 777, are accomplishing.
For humanitarian work
On September 7 2001, Sambhavna was presented the Inner Flame Award 2001 by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Dr Bhai Mahavir, for ‘outstanding humanitarian work and excellence in deed’.
For meritorious service
The Sambhavna Trust was awarded the 1999 Tajiri Muneaki prize for ‘meritorious services rendered to the victims of Bhopal gas disaster’. The award is given in memory of the late Tajiri Muneaki, a Japanese campaigner against industrial pollution and occupational hazards. Amongst the other co-prize winners that year were the late Teruo Kawamoto, who fought for the rights of victims of the Chisso Corporation in Minamata.