Avril’s Blog: Chingari’s Annual Sports Day

Chingari Rehabilitation Centre for victims of the 1984 Union Carbide Dow gas disaster annual sports day

Photo by Sanjay Verma

Never mind that the weak British Government refused to ban Dow Chemicals from sponsoring the UK Olympics, here in India the children at Chingari in Bhopal demonstrated a strength and resilience that would put the whole of the British Government and the Olympics Committee to shame.

Yesterday I, along with Anne another Bhopal fundraiser opened Chingari’s second Olympics, otherwise known as Chingari’s Sports. Anne and her fundraising group had enabled this to happen along with providing warm winter uniforms. Yes there are parts of India that get really cold in Winter!

The first race was for those who could stand upright and they ran and sometimes limped to the end of the race line. Then it was the turn of the the younger ones who had limited or little use in their lower limbs, they shuffled along on their bums and laughed with joy as the crowd cheered them on.

Then came the turn of the wheelchair users whose carers walked ever so sedately and carefully as they propelled their entrants towards the ticker tape. There are so many children here taking part in these Olympics that the event is held over two days.

Clearly the heroes and heroines of these events are these kids who demonstrate a joy in living despite the most challenging of disabilities. But the staff who care for them in equal measure with equal joy are no lesser champions.

They do not waste any resources here. Ann and I were presented with a bouquet of flowers each, just as we oohed and awed over them they were immediately removed from us and presented to the two government ministers who had just arrived. Ah well it’s the thought that counts!

Chingari Sports day Bhopal children affected by gas leak and water contamination

Photo by Sanjay Verma

So a big thumbs down to the British Government and the Olympics committee and a huge thumbs up to the Chingari kids and staff who demonstrate that the greatest of challenges are not overcome in the Olympic Village in London but here at Chingari’s Rehabilitation Centre in Bhopal, where Corporate Crime has not succeeded in dampening the spirit of those who eyes shine with joy, whose limbs flounder and flap, whose voices cheer right up to the finishing line.

By Avril Meyler

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We believe Dow & DuPont 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.