Immediately following the tragic tsunami of December 26, 2004, Pujya Swamiji, Vivek Oberoi, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Rishikumars from the Parmarth Gurukul and Vivek Oberoi’s family traveled down to South India. Upon seeing the devastation wrought upon the land and the people, Pujya Swamiji knew they needed to stay and offer not only short-term assistance, but also long-term, permanent relief.
IMMEDIATE, EMERGENCY MEASURES
The people of Tamil Nadu affected by the tsunami were rendered homeless, without even the basic thing of proper food, clothing, or the necessities of life. Thus, immediate, emergency measures were taken to provide for the tsunami victims, which included:
- ~ Construction of 100 new, temporary homes
- ~ Establishment and running of 7 community kitchens where thousands of families received fresh, hot meals, including milk for children, twice a day
- ~ Medical Relief Centers, which operated at each of the 7 kitchens
- ~ Playground for the children
- ~ Free Eye and Cataract Operation Camp for hundreds of villagers
- ~ Wide-scale distribution of necessities to thousands of people, including food, water, clothing, cooking supplies, shoes, sheets, etc.
- ~ Repair of more than 100 boats and purchase of 15 new boats for the devastated fishermen
Permanent Village Reconstruction in Pannithittu and Pattincheri, Pondicherry
We completely reconstructed the two villages, which were destroyed by the tsunami, which totaled over 350 homes.
Pannithittu was inaugurated in December 2005 by the Hon’ble Governors of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Uttarakhand. Its reconstruction was made possible through generous donors such as Rotary International, Sadeh Lok, UK, Himjyoti Foundation, and many others.
Pattincheri was inaugurated in April 2007. Its reconstruction was sponsored by Shri LN Mittal of London.
An orphanage was constructed in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, for children orphaned by the tsunami, and for many girls who were orphaned before the tsunami. The orphanage includes approximately 450 children (more than 350 of whom are girls) and includes:
- ~ A school
- ~ Primary medical facilities/clinic
- ~ A computer center
- ~ A science center & laboratory
- ~ Vocational training facilities
- ~ Dormitory facilities
- ~ Huge Dining Hall and Kitchen facilities
The groundbreaking ceremony for the orphanage was performed by Pujya Swamiji, the Hon’ble Governors of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Uttarakhand, and Vivek Oberoi. The final structure was inaugurated by Pujya Swamji and the Governor of Tamil Nadu on May 12, 2007.
CENTER FOR DESTITUTE WOMEN
Project Hope adopted a women’s center on the same land as the orphanage. The 200 widowed, abandoned, and impoverished woman were eating, sleeping, living, and studying in this one hall. In addition to providing renovations and repairs, we have built:
- ~ A full dining hall and kitchen facilities
- ~ A computer center
- ~ A vocational center
- ~ Additional facilities in the social service center
We have also given the women much needed clothing, supplies, and other essentials! The orphanage and the Women’s Center are located on the same land, only a few meters apart. In this way, the orphanaged children have received – in addition to the staff – mothers, aunts, grandmothers and older sisters, and the ladies have received the priceless gift of caring for orphaned children. Thus, together they share in new beginnings and enhance each other’s lives.
The foundation laying ceremony for this project took place by the hands of the Honorable Governor of Tamil Nadu, the Honorable Governor of Uttarakhand, the Honorable Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, and other dignitaries.