Centre of HOPE - Bhuj

One of the most devastating and deadliest earthquakes in the beginning of the 21st century occurred in Gujarat on 26th January 2001 (on India’s Republic Day) killing twenty thousand in the region, the deadliest in its category over the last 189 years. Three important towns: Bhuj, Anjar, and Bacchau were destroyed, more than 50% of the people in the earthquake-hit areas migrated to neighbouring states. The crippling devastation in its aftermath drew relief workers from all over the globe. The small towns and villages were reduced to rubble. CNN reported on January 27,

“Women wept and rocked back and forth, watching as the few available bulldozers and cranes pushed through the piles of stone that once had housed families and shops. Beds, children's toys, and clothes lay abandoned in the debris, lamp posts and electric pylons were twisted and many buildings were left leaning precariously…‘there is nothing left between the sky and the earth any more. Everything has been demolished’, said one survivor in a village close to the epicentre."

After the initial wave, relief work began to be diverted - to disasters and victims in other parts of the world. However, the mountains of rubble are still monument to the terrible reality of the people of the region, especially Bhuj.

Then, there were those who stayed – HOPE worldwide workers. On one acre of land donated to us, we started a mini-hospital and an English-medium primary school that is housed in a building built using seismic-proof technology. The school was located in the Ashapura Nagar slum, near the domestic airport, Kutch. The school has been a rallying point for the residents of Bhuj as their children chart out a new future for themselves and their families. Although Bhuj is no longer the same, yet the spirit of the people has been uplifted by the establishment of the school. The construction of the quakeproof school has given confidence to the people who had lost most of their children in the quake, crushed under the walls of their school classrooms.

Due to the good standard of education maintained over the years, in 2003 the school received a recognition letter from the Gujarat education board to conduct classes up to the 5th standard.

The children at the Bhuj school are a living testament of the life-changing work being done by the HOPE worldwide workers. Happiness and joy has returned to the lives of many of the families and we are proud to say that we had a hand in it.

Exec. Director Mark Templer noted, 'SAP Labs is a wonderful partner-they help educate kids in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, take care or orphans in Bangalore and Delhi. Their employees and management are wonderful volunteers.'

Visit this blog to know more about the programmes in Bhuj: Bhuj CoH


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