The Chingari Rehabilitation Centre
As well as the Sambhavna Trust, the Bhopal Medical Appeal also makes grants to the Chingari Rehabilitation Centre.
The Chingari Trust was opened in 2005 when two Bhopal survivors, Rashida Bee and Champadevi Shukla, were recognized for their activism on behalf of the thousands of survivors of the Union Carbide Gas Disaster, and were presented with the Goldman Environmental Award.
The women used the money from the award and started a trust that has several main functions: extending economic and livelihood support programs to gas-affected women and their families, taking up initiatives that help protect and support the rights of victims of the Gas Disaster, particularly women and children, and to promote the Chingari Award, which recognizes women activists in other parts of India who are fighting against corporate crime and environmental destruction.
One of the major functions of the Chingari Trust is the work committed towards supporting the families of the many children in Bhopal born today with various psychological and physical disabilities. The Chingari Rehabilitation Center is around half a kilometer away from the Sambhavna clinic.
Presently there are over 400 children registered with the Chingari Trust and 250 children come to the centre each day. Most children come with their mothers but there are a few children who come on their own. Chingari has four vans and their drivers drive out to the bastisevery morning to pick the children up and bring them to the center.
The services offered at the Chingari Rehabilitation Center include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education and sports activities.
The children who visit Chingari are supported, stimulated, and encouraged—all of this makes them happy and leaves them feeling “normal”, an experience they do not often encounter at home and in their neighborhoods. Almost all of these children come from families that are impoverished and one can only imagine how much poverty compounds their existing health problems. This is why the free care and therapy that is given at the Chingari Rehabilitation center is so crucial.
The staff at Chingari are made up of skilled doctors and therapists who every day take on the challenging task of working with these children. Not only do they work with the children, but they also counsel and instruct their mothers on how to best care for and stimulate their children when they are at home.
On Saturdays, the Chingari outreach workers go out to designated neighborhoods, and they inquire about children (and adults) residing in the area who have physical or mental disabilities. They organize a community meeting and invite people to attend and bring their children. The intention of the meeting is to inform the community members about the services that Chingari Trust can provide their children if they register and bring them each day. Some children might be too old to access the services of Chingari, and in those cases, the staff inform the parents of government services or schemes they can access for assistance or support. In many cases, the parents are unable to understand or complete the documentation necessary to access these services, so the Chingari outreach workers help them with this process.