A day at the Chingari Trust Rehabilitation Centre, Bhopal

Chingari Trust provides care and rehabilitation for children poisoned by the gas and water contamination in Bhopal

The rehabilitation centre sign on Berasia Road, Bhopal

The Chingari Trust is a sanctuary for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims, many of whom are now children. The center was set up in 2006 by the 2004 Goldman Environmental Award winners Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, who both lived close to the factory on ‘that night’. They both suffered the terrible consequences of the gas and lost many family members.

Second and Third generation of Bhopal victims are treated at the Chingari Trust Rehabilitation centre for women and children Soon after, as their husbands became increasingly ill and could not work, they came out from under their veils and got to work helping Bhopali women all castes and religions with aid and justice for they had all been through. Along with many other women survivors of Bhopal they set The Bhopal Gas Affected Working Women’s Union in 1986 in direct response to the growing need for economic and medical relief.

The Chingari Trust is a sanctuary for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims, many of whom are now children.By the early 1990’s, they had over 20,000 members-all whom were direct-gas victims. They soon became linked with other major activist groups in all parts of the country and fought many environmentally sensitive issues.

In 2004, both women were awarded The Goldman Environmental award – the greatest accolade and bestowment given annually to honor grassroots environmentalists. With the proceeds of this award, they soon founded Chingari Trust which was created in 2006 as a blueprint for utilizing the funds and administering its implementation for the welfare of gas victims.

Chingari Trust Rehabilitation Centre provides therapies for children with complex physical and psychological disabilities

The children and their mothers are brought to the centre each day in one of four mini vans

One of the first major achievements of the Chingari Trust has been its creation of a database of children special needs. This database has been continually updated over the past 3 years of its operation. As of today, November 29 2012, they have 473 registered children with various types of disabilities—as a result of their parent’s exposure to gas, contaminated water, or both—have been registered with us, and 120 are receiving treatment in our rehabilitation center.

For many children, free medicine, and expenses for treatment are provided by the Trust.The rehabilitation center is situated just off the busy Barasia road and provides the all-important psychological support and counseling for the children so help them live ‘normal’ lives within their communities.

Support includes physiotherapy, speech therapy, teaching sign language, and reading and writing in Braille. Many parents and family members accompany the children and work alongside these incredible professional carers and counselors.

Chingari Bhopal centre for rehabilitation for second and third generation victims of the Bhopal gas disasterVisiting the centre is remarkable experience. Many of these sickly children do not survive to adulthood and, although the staff and parents suffer these awful deaths constantly, they have to continue to keep hope and spirits high. Amongst the writhing pain and disability are smiles and laughter, which ultimately, is a very humbling experience.

You can make a donation here

You can visit the Chingari Trust’s website here

Photos and words by Giles Clarke

Bhopal gas disaster Chingari centre for children disabled by the 1984 union carbide gas leak

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.