Suraj’s Story

Suraj was born beside a lake full of toxic chemical waste. When Suraj’s mother brought him into the Sambhavna Clinic they noted the milestones he has already missed.

At one year he hadn’t sat up or recognised his mother. By three, no response to speech.

Meeting Suraj at eight, managing trustee Sathyu wrote, “He melts my heart, but does not, cannot, speak. His legs, arms too, are mostly useless, but he makes amazing use of them, dragging himself about, crawling, tumbling, using his limbs as though he’s trained each separately. There are sores on his knees, ankles, shins. Flies cluster on them. Suraj, unmindful, smiles on.”

Suraj reached 18 unable to walk, talk or even sit unaided, but then something miraculous happened. Suraj was referred to the Chingari Rehabilitation Centre. Set up in 2005 by two women gas survivors Chingari, supported by Bhopal Medical Appeal, provides restorative therapies and special education to children born damaged as a consequence of chemical exposure in Bhopal.


After only 7 months of daily targeted therapy Suraj was able to sit unaided. After 18 months he was able to walk unaided for the first time in 19 years. Weeks later and for the first time in his life Suraj spoke his mothers name.

You can see Suraj’s first steps on this video.

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