Chingari children and staff settle into new premises

Our first Chingari Rehabilitation Centre (left) building was given to us by the Sambhavana Trust, after it moved to their own new clinic building nearby. Of the 60 children registered with us at that time in 2007, we took 18 to the nearby special school Akansha for treatment and special education. We had one van then which used to collect children from their homes and drop them back after treatment; it was a good advertisement for our rehabilitation centre as it travelled through the most gas-affected areas of Bhopal. However, the summer vacation in Akansha school during May and June 2007, left the children without any activities.

Dr Sanjay Gour (left), the first physiotherapist at Chingari was then given the responsibility of looking after these children in one room of the Chingari Trust office, where he started doing therapy manually; later we managed to get a few pieces of specialist equipment. This treatment was effective and improvement was seen in the children immediately. Soon parents started bringing more children and before long we were accommodating 40 to 50 children, and their mothers, in one room and a small hall.

The humble beginning, in one room at the Chingari office leased building, graduated to five rooms of a temporary accomodation (at 147 Firdos Nagar) from July 2009 until February 2011. Earlier this year our grant application was approved by the Bhopal Medical Appeal. It was a long wait and a struggle to get new and bigger premises (left) to accommodate the 70 children that were coming to our temporary premises for therapy and education. Finally, Chingari Trust has moved to the Satguru Complex – Ground Floor at Berasia Road, premises allotted by the Madhya Pradesh (State) Government. Though the formalities of complete documentation and handing overare still happening, the papers have been cleared by the MP Government’s legal department. The Managing Trustees, Ms Rasheeda Bee and Ms Champa Devi Shukla’s constant perusal and continuous efforts have brought joy and happiness to all the children, parents, staff and all our partners and associates.

The total built up area of our new premises (part of a residential complex) is approximately 1900 sq. feet. We have almost 2000 sq. feet of covered outside space and around 2000 sq. feet for a playground area for the children as per the government guidelines, also a sensory garden designed by a recent UK volunteer.  There are airy 12 rooms which were originally either store rooms or covered car parking spaces for those living in the complex are currently being converted into specialist physiotherapy, speech therapy and special education areas.

Now that we have the space, all staff and especially our field workers are putting their full efforts into spreading the word and letting gas- and water-affected families know that they can bring their children to new Chingari Rehabilitation Centre for treatment. In the coming months we will be able to welcome new children, as well as provide even better services to those currently registered with us. We now have three vans, and are able to bring around 100 children (of the 120 enrolled with us) to the centre each day; this is real progress.

Tarun Thomas, Manager

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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.