India has suffered from many natural disasters in the past that challenge the ability of the government to restore the people to wholeness. Pujya Bhaishri has immediately reached out to the calamity struck places, where many volunteers and well-wishers have supported him to impart monetary assistance, time and emotional support to those affected.
Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation
Nepal Earthquake 2015
Pujya Bhaishri’s wrote this memo about what had been done and what was still needed:
A similar aid was provided by Pujya Bhaishri during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 whilst on his trip abroad.
Dear Divine Souls,
Jai Shri Krishna,
Two years after the disaster in Kedarnath, the terrible current earthquake in Nepal has affected not only the Himalayas, but also moved peoples’ hearts and courage.
At the time of natural calamities, both the good and bad qualities within a person are revealed. Let us all present our great values of humanity and help those in pain and in need.
The nature is our mother. Every element of the nature nurtures us. Our body is made from and maintained by the earth, water, air, fire and space. We should worship Mother Nature and respect her. Instead, people are attempting to make victory over nature with the help of science. People are destroying Mother Nature rather than worship her. Our Rishis have taught us to live in harmony with Mother Nature.
Mother Nature gets angry when humans do wrong towards her. Calamities like these are here to caution us.
This is a time of test for those who have survived from this fury. We should express humanity by starting to help these people. We must pray for those who are dead and think about how we can help those affected through our mental, body and material abilities.
The devotees of our Sandipani Parivar have begun by donating Rs. 5,100,000 for the Nepal earthquake. We welcome all those who would like to join us in this service.
Let us all pray for the resting of the souls in peace for those who have died. You all can contribute through the recitation of Shri Vishnu Sahasranām Stotra, Shri Hanumān Chālisā, Sunderkānd, Shrimad Bhāgavat, Rāmāyan or singing of the Mahāmantra.
May God help all and give those affected the power to tolerate the disaster caused.
Flood Relief Work
Nineteen districts of North Bihar suffered monumental damage to life and property when in 2008 the Kosi River swelled, broke its banks and ruptured the dam designed to protect the surrounding community. As the river broke its banks, the surge uprooted trees, washed away homes, swamped farms, and resulted in the forced desertion of 1,600 villages. In the end, 2.3 million people were affected by the incredible destructive power of the flood.
Many organizations worked tirelessly to help those in affected areas, and the sheer volume of what was needed was staggering. Volunteers from the foundation began working immediately to help as well. Those with boats were immediately dispatched to supply food, drinking water, first aid, and rescue those in villages that were left isolated and marooned by flood waters. Money was collected and funnelled to the Bihar Flood Fund as well as directly to victims. Temporary tents were constructed to provide shelter to those who had lost their homes. Help was given in every way the Foundation could think of around the clock.
Pujya Bhaishri directed his foundation to donate 500,000 Rupees in November 2008 to Paropkar Samiti for the rehabilitation work in Bihar.
Also in 2008, Porbandar and its surrounding areas were flooded after ten days of rain caused five dams to overflow. The Trust immediately got into action and did relief work that was requested by the District Relief Work of Porbandar. Immediately, food packets were made by Sandipani’s Rishikumars and distributed to all those people affected by the flooding. More than 4,000 food packets were distributed.
“We should feel extremely grateful to God who gave us strength to stand firm amidst the worst situations. Let us keep our faith in him unshattered”
– Pujya Bhaishri
When floods devastated the city of Surat in 2006, 5,000 food packets from Porbandar and Ahmedabad were sent to Surat immediately. Members of the Vaishvik Sanskruti Parivar immediately began the distribution of clean drinking water, food packets, necessary grocery items, and clothes. 51,000 Rupees were also given to the Janmabhoomi Relief Fund, which was doing admirable relief work.
Floods ravaged Gujarat in June, 2005 and the Foundation was there. Members of our Vaishvik Sanskruti Parivar immediately got to task and distributed food packets in the villages of Kheda district near Baroda. On 25th July, trustees of Shri Bharatiya Sanskruti Samvardhak Trust met Shri Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat and donated Rs. 5,00,000 for Flood Relief work in Gujarat. Relief was also extended in Karnataka during the floods in 2009 and similar aid was provided by Pujya Bhaishri’s foundation during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 whilst on his trip abroad.
Earthquake Relief Work
On January 26, 2001, the Indian state of Gujarat was hit by a devastating magnitude seven earthquake in Bhuj that killed twenty thousand people and left over one million homeless. The Trust rapidly moved to help in rebuilding the infrastructure in the affected areas. Well-wishers whole heartedly extended their support to the noble cause with financial aid and knowledge. They effectively built a network, co-ordinating efforts that tended to the material and emotional needs of the affected families.
Ruins of the earthquake in Kutch, 2001
Radhanagar, a township built after the earthquake in Bhuj in 2001
Volunteers collected food, medicines, and clothes for the victims. They attended to the wounded and helped families deal with fatalities. It wasn’t enough to restore the physical environment and the victims of trauma, counselling for mental well-being was also provided. The Sandipani family worked hard to quickly restore some semblance of normalcy.
Small villages were the hardest hit and the Trust reached out to rescue people in such unattended rural areas. One such village was Meghapar at Kumbhardi (Anjar), where the calamity had turned the area into a mass of ruins. Plans were made to rebuild the village. The victims of physical injuries were given medical attention, food and water supplies. Temporary shelters were created for the villagers as there were no homes left. The Trust took up the task of rebuilding one hundred and thirty houses, constructing schools and temples in the village.
As the village of Meghapar was reduced to ruins, an adjoining village of Nani Khedai also suffered a similar fate. The rehabilitation of this village was undertaken as well, providing relief material and medical help. The same plan was followed for the renaissance of this little village and with the help of generous devotees, the venture was successfully completed including a new school and fifty-two new homes.
Madhavnagar built after the earthquake in Bhuj, Kutch in 2001.
Smaller projects were taken up in various districts of Kutch including the building of:
- ‘Maharshi Valmiki Samaj Utkarsh Mandir’ at Madhapar, Bhuj
- Maharshi Valmiki Samaj Utkarsh Mandir’ at Baldiya, Bhuj
- ‘Maharshi Sandipani Primary School’ at Kumbhariya, Anjar
- ‘Maharshi Sandipani Koli Adivasi Samaj Students Hostel’ at Manfara, Bhachau.
- Reconstruction of the Babadeshwar Mandir, Porbandar
- Repairs to an ancient temple at Bhadh, Porbandar
Cyclone Relief Work
A devastating cyclone hit Orissa in 1999 shattering many lives. The Trust extended support to the Gujarati Samaj in Orissa and helped build five schools.
The cyclone in Porbandar had a great impact on the city and its nearby areas. Electricity was cut off for over a month. The Trust took up the task of repairing and restoring the roofs of all the schools in Porbandar.