Ramadan Child Rehabilitation Fund

Fund a child’s rehabilitation at our Chingari clinic and help transform their life this Ramadan. Thanks to our physiotherapists, speech therapists, and special educators, every year more children at Chingari learn to sit, walk, or speak, and face the world’s challenges.

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Ramadan Child Rehabilitation Fund

Fund a child’s rehabilitation at our Chingari clinic and help transform their life this Ramadan. Thanks to our physiotherapists, speech therapists, and special educators, every year more children at Chingari learn to sit, walk, or speak, and face the world’s challenges.

The Bhopal Medical Appeal is a UK charity that cares for survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster, the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. We provide free treatment for families poisoned by gas or by toxic chemicals still leaking into water sources in the city, including a third generation of damaged children. These are their stories:

Mariyam’s Story

Mariyam is four years old and has cerebral palsy. Her father was himself only a child on that fateful night in 1984 when deadly gasses leaked from the Union Carbide factory and blew across the city of Bhopal. His own father grasped him tight, attempting in vain to shield him from the toxic vapours. He survived, growing up in a changed world, and eventually met the love of his life, Kishwar. Mariyam was born in January 2019, but as the months past the couple realised her neck muscles were not developing sufficiently to support the wight of her head. By the time she was two and half years old, she still struggled to hold her head straight and could not yet sit, stand, or walk. Learning that Mariyam’s condition could be a result of her father’s gas exposure, the couple sought help and learned of the Chingari clinic. As soon as the final Covid-19 lockdown had past and Chingari re-opened, they brought her in for assessment. Chingari’s team of physiotherapists prescribed a targeted course of treatment for Mariyam, with exercises designed to strengthen her neck and core muscles. With their help, in the last 18 months she has significantly increased her neck control and is now able to sit independently. Regular daily squatting and kneeling exercises have improved the strength of her leg muscles, and as a result her ability to kneel and stand have also improved. The hope is that, with continued treatment, her mobility will also improve and she may one day be able to walk unaided. Chingari has also provided a safe social environment for Mariyam where she can learn and interact with other children, and she loves playing games with the other kids. She also enjoys the food at lunchtime - desserts and other sweet foods are her favourite.

Suraj’s Story

Suraj was born beside a lake full of toxic chemical waste. It was some time after Suraj’s birth that his mother Ramsiya learned that water from this lake had been mixing with the discoloured groundwater she had been drinking for years. When Ramsiya brought Suraj to our doctors they noted the milestones he had already missed. At one year he hadn’t sat up or recognised his mother. By three, no response to speech. Suraj was four by the time he was belatedly weaned—the same year that chloroform, mercury, lead, pesticides, and dichloromethanes were found in the milk of mothers living by the factory. Suraj reached adulthood without ever having caught a ball, sung a song or climbed a tree. At 18, Suraj had not run or jumped, had never stood up unaided, hadn’t once walked a single step, or even uttered one word. Then, against all odds, against every expectation, something miraculous happened. Suraj was referred to the Chingari Rehabilitation Centre. Three painstaking months of targeted therapy, five days per week, enabled Suraj to gain some neck control. Next came three months dedicated to strengthening his torso. A month after, Suraj sat without support for the first time. Now began motion therapy work on the lower limbs. After months of unflinching effort, Suraj was able to stand. Balance and coordination work came next. At 19 years of age, Suraj took his first unaided footsteps. 116 other Chingari kids had walked before Suraj, but none so impossibly. Weeks later, and for the first time in his life, Suraj spoke his mother’s name.

£680

Funds a child’s treatment for one year.

£56

Funds a child’s treatment for one month.

£7

Funds a child’s education for one month.

£10

Funds a child’s speech therapy for one month.

£17

Funds a child’s physiotherapy for one month.

£15,000

Funds the whole Chingari Clinic for one month.

Disclaimer: Before you donate, please note that the child rehabilitation fund is not a sponsorship program. By donating you are supporting the care of a child or children at Chingari, but you will not be linked with a specific child. We will provide updates on the progress of all the children’s treatment to our donors throughout their time in our care.

The Cause: Deadly Gas and Poisoned Water

Zoya’s grandmother Asha gently cradles her face and speaks softly to calm her, though she knows Zoya cannot answer. Zoya is 15 years old, but she has never uttered a word. Her hands hang limply from her wrists, a legacy from that night in 1984 when her father Farukh, himself only 15 at the time, panicked and ran blindly from Asha’s side into a darkness filled with deadly gas.

The gas cloud came from a leak at the Union Carbide factory, which made chemicals to kill insects, and drifted across the city of Bhopal. No alarm was sounded, no warning came. By morning thousands were dead, and hundreds of thousands maimed. By some miracle Farukh survived, but he would not live to see his daughter reach the same age.

Union Carbide’s industrial gas disaster in Bhopal, India, is known as the world’s worst. But it didn’t just happen in 1984. It began.

Deadly poisons crossed the lungs of those who breathed the gas and were ferried through the blood, where they broke down, causing damage to organs, to immune, nervous and reproductive systems, to cells and to genes. In the 37 years since, thousands of others like Farukh have succumbed to their injuries.

Tens of thousands more were for decades forced to drink water contaminated with toxic chemicals from the abandoned factory site — chemicals known to damage genes, or impact a developing foetus — which continue to seep steadily into the earth, poisoning the wells and pumps of those living in surrounding neighbourhoods.

And so today in Bhopal, damaged children are being born in such numbers that there is no forseeable end to Carbide’s disaster.

On the day Farukh died, Zoya was three years old but still could not speak or walk. For years, Asha and her husband Mansoor cared for Zoya: washing her, dressing her, helping her to the bathroom.

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It was not until Zoya was 6 that they learned of the Chingari Rehabilitation Centre. With the help of physio and speech therapy, Zoya has begun walking, comprehending, and communicating her needs with signs.

At Chingari, we care for hundreds of children like Zoya, whose parents and grandparents were exposed to the gas, or had unknowingly been drinking water filled with toxic waste. Denied official support or compensation, they have nowhere to turn but to us.

The Solution: The Chingari Rehabilitation Centre

The Chingari Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 2006 by Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla, both gas survivors themselves. The two women campaigned on behalf of the survivors for years and have never given up the fight for true compensation and justice. The courage and tenacity they showed in their struggle won them the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2004, and they used every penny to open Chingari two years later.

Chingari now supports 229 disabled children every day, providing therapies and special education, as well as lunch and transport to and from the centre. But there are a further 1000 registered children in the area who would benefit if resources allowed. The child rehabilitation fund aims to support continued treatment and education and provide a community space to physically and psychologically disabled children and young adults born into families affected by the gas and water poisoning.

When Chingari proudly marked their 10th anniversary in 2016, the founders reflected upon their incredible progress:

We started Chingari in a single room with 15 disabled children and limited resources' said Rashida and Champa. 'The only thing we had at that point was the passion to improve the lives of congenitally disabled children born into families affected by the gas tragedy and subsequent water contamination.

Over the years Chingari has continued to grow, and we have achieved things we would never have believed were possible back then. Almost all the children come from impoverished backgrounds and have family members with long-term health conditions, situations which often compound their struggles.

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With a donation of £680, you will fund one child’s annual treatment including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education, and sports activities.

Your donation provides children who visit the centre with a space in which they are supported, stimulated, and encouraged, as well as being able to play normally with other children, an experience they do not often encounter at home and in their neighbourhoods. Please consider supporting us and help these children have a better future.

The Blessed Month of Ramadan

Why is The Bhopal Medical Appeal fundraising and raising awareness of the gas disaster and water poisoning with a faith-based campaign?

At The Bhopal Medical Appeal we acknowledge that the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is an extremely important time for the Islamic faith community across the world.

The month of Ramadan is synonymous with charitable giving, and we wish to highlight the incredible efforts and resilience of our registered children, their families, and the staff at Chingari.

Your sadaqah gift this Ramadan will help transform the lives of the children of Bhopal by providing them with long-term care, support and a place in a loving community.

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