Chingari Child Rehabilitation Fund
Fund a child’s rehabilitation at our Chingari clinic and help transform their life. 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:
Funds a child’s treatment for one year.
Funds a child’s treatment for one month.
Funds a child’s education for one month.
Funds a child’s speech therapy for one month.
Funds a child’s physiotherapy for one month.
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.
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.
With a donation of £590, 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.