Chingari Trust


Thanks to donors from Wisconsin, Chingari Trust began a nutrition program to provide a complete meal to every student, every day at school.

Chingari Trust provides special education, treatment (OT, PT and speech) and rehabilitation to children and grandchildren of gas victims born with birth defects, disabilities or life threatening conditions due to the ongoing pollution and contamination of their environment.

$10/month will feed 3 children for A year

Or a Single DONATION OF $40 WILL FEED 1 CHILD FOR A YEAR!


Why Bhopal, India?

The pesticide plant in Bhopal, now owned by Dow Chemical, was built by Union Carbide India, Ltd., in 1969. By the early 1980’s the plant had ceased production, but large quantities of dangerous chemicals remained on site.

On the night of December 2, 1984, a chemical tank exploded, spewing a deadly, ground-hugging cloud of toxic chemicals over much of Bhopal.

An estimated 8,000 people died that night—no one will ever know exactly how many. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. 

Today, the Bhopal community continues to suffer health impacts from the contaminated factory site. Monsoon rains wash the toxic chemicals from the abandoned plant deep into the groundwater serving the surrounding communities. The affected people of Bhopal were forced to wash, bathe, and drink this toxic water until recently. As a result, the community experiences high rates of cancer and birth defects, and patients are plagued by ailments including blindness, fevers, skin diseases, extreme difficulty in breathing, and gynecological disorders. 

Dow Chemical Company has repeatedly stated publicly that it bears no responsibility for the clean-up of the site or the health impacts on the surrounding community.

What is Chingari Trust?

In 2012, thanks to donors from Wisconsin, Chingari Trust began a nutrition program to provide a complete meal to every student, every day at school.

Chingari Trust provides special education, treatment (OT, PT and speech) and rehabilitation to children and grandchildren of gas victims born with birth defects, disabilities or life threatening conditions due to the ongoing pollution and contamination of their environment.

The Rehabilitation Center now has more than 930 students registered and 200 children currently receive care. The Rehabilitation Center will soon be able to support 300 children. The Azim Premiji Foundation has awarded a three-year grant to Chingari Trust to open a second site for physical therapy and special education across the street from the current Chingari Trust school, providing also free transportation for an additional 100 children who have been on Chingari Trust’s waiting last for the last few years.

In addition to the ailments they are suffering due to the gas disaster, many also are malnourished and stunted in growth, making it more difficult for each child to receive the full benefit of treatments offered. 

What do we do to help?  

As part of a 2011 field term UW-Madison course, "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health and Disease: South Asia," full physical exams and assessments were done for students attending Chingari Trust for rehabilitation and education. Although most had significant issues with physical or cognitive abilities, it became clear that all were significantly malnourished—more than could be attributed to their underlying health challenges.

In response, and in collaboration with the Chingari founders and staff, a nutrition program was established by the resident advisers and six graduate students to ensure all students received a healthy daily meal.

The establishment of the Chingari Nutrition Program was spearheaded by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin Steering Committee member Dr. Ann Behrmann, a Madison pediatrician, while working with Dr. Lalita du Perron, Associate Director of the UW-Madison Center for South Asia, and field term students from the summers of 2011 and 2012 in Bhopal. 

For a relatively small amount of yearly funding, the nutrition program can markedly improve the children’s ability to achieve better health and reach full potential in learning and life. 

Where does the money come from?  

In 2012, field term students from the University of Wisconsin and resident advisers organized fundraisers in Madison, Wisconsin to support the program.

In 2013, Megan Dogra, a young student at University School in Milwaukee, visited the Chingari Rehabilitation Center after hearing Dr. Lalita DuPerron, Associate Director for University of Wisconsin Center for South Asia, speak at her school about Chingari Trust.

Deeply moved by her experience, she established “Assist Bhopal” to raise awareness and funds. As a legal non-profit entity, PSR Wisconsin supports this work by providing tax-exempt documentation and receipts to donors.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the Union Carbide gas disaster, Ms. Dogra and the University School of Milwaukee Global Scholars hosted an Assist Bhopal fundraising dinner at a Milwaukee Indian restaurant, raising more than $10,000 in support of the Chingari Nutrition Program.

Upon Ms. Dogra’s graduation, her brother Neil and Saloni Gupte, senior at Oak Creek High School, with their fellow students and parents are continuing to raise funds through Assist Bhopal and additional fundraisers in Milwaukee.

Visit Assist Bhopal’s website here.

What's next? 

PSR Wisconsin, in conjunction with UW-Madison's Center for South Asia, and the University School, aim to help Chingari Trust develop it's own self-sustaining funding base and expand the center's practices to help more families in the Bhopal area.

Dr. Ann Behrmann, pediatrician and PSR Wisconsin Treasurer, spent six school days at Chingari Trust evaluating the nutritional content of school lunches and speaking to staff about their needs. This is informing decisions about the nutritional content of lunches at Chingari Trust as well as how Wisconsin donors might best help support special education/PT/OT/Speech services and staff.

Anne Palmer, a special education teacher from the United Kingdom and founder of Bhopal Todays and Tomorrows, will visit Bhopal in December 2018 to consult with the special education department and provide feedback on the school lunch program to inform the upcoming addition of 100 children.

 
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photos copyright 2017, Lewis Koch

To learn how to be a part of Chingari Trust, as a donor, sponsor, team member, etc., please contact Dr. Ann BeHrmann at atbehrma@wisc.edu.  

PSR WI is a 501c3 organization and all donations to PSR WI for Chingari Trust are completely tax deductible.


Articles of Interest

Bhopal Gas Disaster: The Living Dead

The World’s Worst Industrial Disaster Is Still Unfolding [The Atlantic - July 10, 2018]

The Chingari Trust - A Great Success Among Continued Difficulty in Bhopal [The Bhopal Medical Appeal - November 29, 2017

Bhopal: The World's Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later [The Atlantic - December 2, 2014] *Warning: Strong Images of Disaster Victims*

Bhopal remembered, Bhopal forgotten [Down to Earth - December 3, 1994]


PSR WI receives reports periodically from Chingari, detailing their use of the funds received, and these reports must meet Federal and State audit standards. PSR WI is a 501c3 organization and all donations to PSR WI for Chingari Trust are completely tax deductible