Flood Relief In Bihar (Recent Update - 3rd Sept, 2008)
Most part of the Madhepura and Saharsa districts in Bihar is inundated and under water after the river Kosi washed away its bank and flowed over four districts. Millions of people became homeless and spending their days under trees and open sky. The sannyasins and volunteers of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha, after setting up a relief centre on 26th August at Sarbanarayan Singh Ramkumar Singh College, Saharsa, are distributing cooked food to nearly 10,000 flood-affected people at Cachra and Karaya villages of Sourbazar Block and remote villages of Biratpur School area of Sonbarsa Block in Saharsa district and Sabaila Sinheswar etc. villages of Madhepura district. Dry food stuff of chira, gur, sattoo, baby food, clothing, polythene, tarpaulins etc. are also being distributed to nearly 5000 flood-affected people daily. Relief materials are also being distributed among the flood affected people who have taken shelter-houses at 28 relief centres setup by Govt. at Saharsa town. Besides, Sangha's relief work has been expanded in Purnia district also.
Flood Relief in Gujrat
The Bharat Sevashram Sangha through its Surat Branch, has undertaken extensive relief work in the flood affected areas of Surat in Gujart for the last few days. The Sangha has already distributed cooked food to nearly 3500 people at Katargam, Gurukul Vidhyapith, Milan Mandir at Annie Besant Road. Monks and volunteers from Ahmedabad, Kalol, Dediapara, Baroda, Mumbai branches of the Sangha have also reached the flood affected areas and strengthened Sangha's relief work there. The Sangha is distributing cooked food among the flood affected people by boat to different villages like Kesar, Chabrabhata, Amroli, Uttran, Monj Kalia, etc.The Sangha has also made arrangement for the treatment of the flood victims.
The Sangha’s first disaster
relief project can be traced to 1923 with the Bengal Famine. Through the last 89
years the Sangha has responded to natural calamities such as the West Bengal
Floods (1978, 1998, and 2001), Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1980), Cyclone in Andhra
Pradesh (1996), and Super cyclone in Orissa (1999), Bhuj earthquake (2001),
Mumbai & Gujarat Flash Flood (2005).
Tamil Nadu, India
The state of Tamil Nadu as the worst affected with a death toll of 7,793. Districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Chennai were amongst the worst hit. The Sangha was one of the first to begin massive relief operations.
Cooked food was distributed continuously to more than 5000 tsunami affected people for a week through our Free Food Program. Basic cooking ingredients such as groceries, pulses, rice and other supplies were also handled out. Clothing, blankets, baby food, polythene sheets and medical supplies were disbursed to marooned districts.
The tsunami swept away a large number of houses leaving a vast majority of families in temporary shelters or camps. The Sangha launched a rehabilitation drive by volunteering to help rebuild houses. More than 150 houses were constructed at Sonankuppam village in Cuddaloer. Mechanised boats and fishing nets were also distributed to local fisherfolk.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
About 1900 islanders were confirmed dead from a population of some 400000 in the aftermath of the tsunami. The islands, only 100 km or so from the epicenter, suffered extensive destruction on the southern cluster from Car Nicobar to Indira Point.
The Sangha faced the daunting task of repairing the lives and property of ten of thousands of people and monitoring relief and rehabilitation measures. Volunteers started extensive relief work at Port Blair & Little Andaman, Hut Bay Islands among other districts.
Free cooked food was supplied to 10000 people for almost 3 months in 5 camps in addition to distribution of essential dry food and ingredients.
Rehabilitation Program, Kolkata
The Sangha is currently involved with the rehabilitation and resettlement of canal dwellers implemented by the Kolkata Environmental implementation Project Trust (KEIP). It is a bilateral project with Asia Development Bank (ADB), Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Government of West Bengal. KMC has provided flats to 3500 canal dwellers at the subsidized rate of 5% of the total construction cost.
The Sangha overseas administration and interfaces with the beneficiaries. BSS also contributes by guiding the socio-economic development of the canal dwellers through projects concentrating on vocational training, formation of Self Help Groups, assistance in opening bank and insurance accounts and formation of user groups who manage maintenance of community assets.
Services to the sick and ailing forms a core of the Sangha’s operations. Spread over the country 46 branches and 300 sub-centres maintain hospitals and charitable dispensaries in urban and rural areas. Mobile medical dispensaries reach out to the remotest parts of the country. Health care and awareness programmes on leprosy eradication. TB control, malaria, filarial and diarrhea camps are regularly organized.
Cancer Care Unit, Mumbai
The Sangha setup a Cancer Care Unit that offers specialized consultation, a chemotherapy day-care centre and a home for cancer patients. The chemotherapy day-care centre provides specialized consultation for cancer patients under the supervision of eminent medical oncologists. Plans are underway to expand the existing capacity and infrastructure. The unit cared for 2000 patients last year and was unable to cope with the increased inflow of patients due accurate diagnosis is central to complete treatment and care. A Diagnostic Centre is therefore being conceptualized.
A large majority of people travel to Mumbai for cancer treatment and are often unable to cope with the financial and mental burden. BSS, Navi Mumbai setup the First Seva Niketan to help patients and their families by providing by providing free accommodation, free transportation to the hospital, subsidized canteen facilities, counseling and awareness programs, etc. Mumbai now has 3 Seva Niketans operating a total of 32 rooms and 8 dormitories and has assisted 6838 patients till date.
As part of our agenda to improve health care for the masses, T camps are organized offering free treatment and medicines with X-ray and sputum test facilities. Over 500 patients have been cured as a result of our initiatives.
Leprosy Control & Welfare Services
About 286000 cases of leprosy were detected globally in 2005. India is home to 70% of the world’s leprosy patients. The challenging task is not only the eradication of the afflicted into mainstream society. The Sangha first approached this public health problem in 1981. Work started in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand with Leprosy Welfare and Rehabilitation Programs covering a population of 1 million. The Sangha runs 4 referral leprosy hospitals for severe reaction and serious ulcer homes for old, infirm and destitute leprosy patients. A Leprosy Colony is also being planned.
Rehabilitation programs have been introduced to reduce the impact of disabilities on the social and economic life of leprosy-affected people. The programs enable them to undertake income-generating occupations to support themselves and their families. We also advocate awareness programs that disseminate accurate information about leprosy.
Health Awareness Camps
Medical teams organize health awareness camps in BSS schools and educational institutions. A total of 6116 students have been examined so far and given treatment when necessary. Special clinics held over the past two years for the care of primitive tribal groups have benefited 3793 patients.
A large majority of India’s population has little or no access to educational opportunities. Realising that the spread of education in rural and semi urban areas is crucial to the development of the nation, the Sangha operates more than a 100 institutions in the country providing quality education to disadvantaged children.
This combined with vocational training programs empower the youth to be self-sufficient and economically independent.
Pranavananda Computer Institute
The Sangha has setup a computer training institute for underprivileged students at Kolkata. Courses are offered at subsidized cost and include modules such as DOS, E-Commerce, HTML, DHTML, Internet, E-mail, F.A., Multimedia and Java scripting. 850 students enrolled in centres in and around Kolkata.
The Sangha, since 1949, has setup a department for organizing scriptural studies among the student community. Regular 3-year graduated level courses are offered by the Sangha. Free copies of scriptures are provided to the students. In rural areas, teaching aids such as lantern slides are used by the instructors. In the year under review, 9000 students from 400 schools and colleges students appeared in the annual examination through 32 centres. Twenty four successful students were given awards.
The Sangha believes in proper physical education and imparts instructions in the art of self-defence through its centres and Milan Mandir throughout the country. Courses are imparted in wrestling, boxing, ju-jitsu and tradition martial arts. The Sangha lays great emphasis in yogic exercises (yogasanas) and has several yoga training centres in different parts of the country.
Our Tribal Welfare Program is an extensive initiative covering the areas of education, health and income generation for weaker communities. Our activities are aimed at enabling these communities to be self-sufficient with sustainable employment opportunities and assisting them to be mainstreamed into society. The Sangha operates Tribal Welfare projects in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Gujarat.
The Sangha operates a multi-specialty free hospital at its Ashram in Barajuri. It is the only medical facility within an area of 12000 sp. km. The hospital has cared for 548 patients and has recently introduced an ambulance service extending its geographical reach. The Ashram also runs a charitable dispensary. Four mobile medical units operating at 64 locations provide health care facilities to 200000 people under the Government of India’s Grant-in-Aid programme.
Elderly & Orphan Care Programs
An Old People’s Care Program provides complete care to 60 elderly people, 45 of whom are sponsored by Helpage India. These people by the Sangha, which provides free food rations, utensils, medicare, clothing and cost of house repairs.
56 years of Independence has left unchanged the life of the tribals in Ghatshila, with the standard of education leaving a lot to be desired. Students from these regions are without hope of competing with their counterparts from more progressive areas of the country and disillusioned, the youth are easily lured to anti-social and anti-national activities to earn easy money.
Our income generation programs reflect our belief that social equity is impossible without economic empowerment. The two have to go hand in hand and complement each other. The Sangha is active in providing vocational training and skill upgradation leading to sustainable employment opportunities.
Extreme poverty force many tribals to live in appalling conditions in structures made of leaves and mud. These houses would often collapse during monsoons and had proved to be breeding grounds for diseases and unhygienic conditions.
In an attempt to increase awareness of the ideals of vedantic philosophy and the way of life the Sangha has formed seven moving Ashrams consisting of highly educated and spiritually advanced Sanyasins. These groups travel through villages and towns throughout the country organizing meetings and conferences, and offer spiritual services to create awareness of the vedantic ideals.
The Acharya was a great believer of unity amongst all sections of society. He dreamt of a society free from divisions of caste, creed or religion and abhorred the idea of untouchability. The Sangha has setup a forum though which societal reforms could be achieved.
The Sangha actively provides services for pilgrims at places of worship and religious fairs. Started in 1924, this movement now enjoys a country-wide support from all sections of the society. The Sangha has played a pivotal role in creating a healthy and favourable atmosphere at these places. The services include free shelter and facilities, medical treatment and spiritual services.
Kumbha Mela derives its name from the immortal – Pot of Nectar- described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas Kumbha in Sanskrit languages means “pot or pitcher’. Mela means ‘festival’. The Kumbh Mela is the largest pilgrimage gathering in the worlds attended by millions of people from across the globe. The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each four locations in the country