While torrential rains and incessant floods brought Chennai to a standstill in December 2015, a group of women took up the mantle of helping the displaced and suffering through lessons they had learnt from World Vision India. Hailing from the communities of Palani, where World Vision India had worked for 15 years, these women donated money towards the relief efforts in Chennai last month.
The Sigaram Federation and Sudar Federation donated Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively for relief efforts. “We want to do more, this is too less,” rued Mrs Santhi, a volunteer with Sudar. The two federations comprise 15 self-help groups, each with a savings scheme for members. These groups were formed by World Vision India and today, they have a whopping Rs 10 lakhs in savings. “World Vision India showed us the way. We want to follow in their footsteps,” says Mrs Rathnam of Sigaram. She explains that their federation now lends money to needy families in their village, and to children who cannot afford higher education. “This was inculcated in us by World Vision India,” she beams.
Amidst the chaos and despair wreaked by nature’s fury, the women handed over their cheques to Mr Cherian Thomas, National Director, World Vision India. They also participated in the relief distribution effort as Saidapet. “We heard about the severe flooding in Chennai and how so many people lost their homes. We wanted to help others through World Vision,” says Ms Vijayalakshmi of Sudar Federation.
World Vision India’s pioneering relief effort
World Vision India responded to the urgent need for relief in Chennai and Cuddalore, trying its level best to reach out to the over 2,00,000 displaced and 67.8 million affected by the floods and rains. Setting up 23 relief camps in the communities it serves, it distributed food packets to 10,000 people and 11,000 water packets in 13 relief centers, apart from 500 biscuit packs to children.
World Vision India covered Saidapet, Theedir Nagar, Gothamedu, Salvayar colony, Jothimal Nagar, Annai Sathyanagar, Raja Gopal School, Kottur School, Anna Gem School and Gandhi Mandam camp. It also covered communities it serves through Chennai Bal Jyoti Area Development Programme, namely Chindathiripet Railway Station, Varatharajapuram, Egmore Station, Amma Nagar and North Chennai.
Identifying the urgent needs of 21,000 families in Chennai city and 700 families in Cuddalore district, World Vision India provided emergency food supplies and other essentials as part of the relief effort. People were in need of food, water, hygiene kits and materials for makeshift shelters.
World Vision India is pleased and humbled by the gratitude shown by the women involved with Sudar and Sigaram Foundation. With the first seeds of community outreach and relief sown by World Vision India, organisations like Sudar Foundation and Sigaram Foundation are contributing to a more humane and compassionate society.