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Appeal for volunteers to help survivors of Gujarat carnage

16 May, 2002

THE C.H.R.O RECOMMENDS ALL THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED AND WILLING TO RESPOND FAVOURABLY TO THIS JOINT APPEAL ISSUED BY CITIZENS INITIATIVE (Ahmedabad), AMAN EKTA MANCH (Delhi) and SHANTI ABHIYAN (Vadodara)

The targeted orgy of violence against the people of Gujarat, especially the minorities, has left in its wake despondency and desperation. It has already claimed the lives of more than 2000 Indian citizens, and turned over 100,000 into refugees in their own land. Even as we issue this appeal ? the violence continues. Islands of terrorized survivors huddle together across the state in over 100 miserable relief camps, in both urban and rural areas. Betrayed by neighbours and friends, left for dead by the state, they are a truly broken people. Children killed, maimed and orphaned; women stripped, raped, and burnt; families with their life savings destroyed ? ashes scattered to the wind. They need your help. Give just a little of your time to help heal the wounds that are bleeding our nation.

Volunteers are urgently needed from different backgrounds to perform a variety of immediate tasks : 

/// * Post-trauma Counseling : Counselors and professionals with a background of working with post-trauma cases are urgently needed in all the relief camps. 
/// * Documentation/recording : Volunteers with documentation skills are needed to record testimonies of victims, ascertain details of incidents, verify facts. Those who can commit up to 10-15 days of their time can help in documentation without necessarily having to go to Gujarat. Information can be sent to them via email to prepare issue-based reports, advocacy material etc.
/// * Working with children : The relief camps are flooded with children, some traumatized because of what they have heard and seen, others orphaned ? they all need people to sit with them, play with them, tell stories, engage them, re-build trust, attempt to re-create a lost childhood. Volunteers should have some experience in working with children.
/// * Craft: Volunteers with skills in sewing, embroidery, paper cutting and other crafts are required to work with women survivors in the relief camps.
/// * Legal Aid: Volunteers are needed to support the legal action. This includes collection of detailed information from camps on cases of loss of life, property, injury, sexual violence, missing persons etc. A background in law will be helpful for legal aid volunteers but is not strictly necessary.

In addition to having any of the skills described above, all volunteers should meet the following basic requirements : 
/// 1. Language - Volunteers with Hindi and English language proficiency are welcome. Ability to communicate in Gujarati is helpful but not necessary. 
/// 2. Volunteers should have a degree of sensitivity, maturity and ability to handle difficult situations. Some NGO or development experience in working with people in troubled situations will be helpful but is not necessary. 
/// 3. Volunteers should be willing to commit a minimum of 7-10 days of their time.
/// 4. It is easier for those working round the clock in relief camps that volunteer help arrives in batches of at least 4 or 5 people. This avoids duplication of the basic orientation process. So, if you know of others who wish to volunteer their time, please try and coordinate dates with them.

IF YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER, WHOM TO CONTACT?

Legal aid volunteers should contact the following : 
/// Coordinators of Legal Cells in Ahmedabad : 
* Sophia Khan. Telephones - 079 - 5622963 and (o) 079 - 7496054. Email: sophiakhan@rediffmail.com 

/// * Sheba George. Telephones 079 - 6752239, (o) 079 - 6858195, Mobile: 9824093673. Email: sahrwaruad1@sancharnet.in

Coordinator of Legal Cell in Mumbai : * Flavia Agnes. Telephones 022- 6160252 or 6180394 and mobile 9820192196. Email: majlis@vsnl.commajlis@vsnl.com

All other volunteers should contact the following: * Bhavna Ramrakhiani. Telephones: 079-7910654 and mobile 9824034650. Email:
nagrikpahel@hotmail.com
* Sejal Dand and Neeta Hardikar (for volunteers wishing to work in Dahod or Panchmahals Districts). Telephones: 079 - 6325316, (o) 079 - 6859794, 02678-20226 and mobile 9824167565. Email: anandi@jindalonline.com

Volunteers from Delhi who wish to meet those involved in the relief efforts should contact the following organisation : 
* JAGORI: Telephones: 011-6257015 and 6253629. Email: jagori@del3.vsnl.net.in

Note: Support will be provided towards travel, boarding and lodging costs of volunteers

Source: www.humanrightskerala.com 


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