The terror and revulsion Taiyal Nayaki underwent as she saw mangled corpses of small children floating in the wreckage left her with deep traumatic fear, insomnia, mental confusion and doubts. It had been months since she had experienced rest and it was only during our trauma relief workshop that her mind felt peaceful and relaxed for the first time since her ordeal. Subsequently, she underwent training in jute bag tailoring in our Vocational Training Center. Today, she fondly remembers her teacher Rukmini as she recounts her story with strength and poise.
Taiyal Nayaki was one of 35,000 victims whose lives we touched in the 2004 tsunami hit Nagappatinam district. The 26th December 2006 tsunami destroyed an estimated 362 villages affecting 6.9 lakh people in India. Nagapattanam, a small district in Tamilnadu was one of the worst hit districts by tsunami leaving more than 6000 people dead and 1.5 lakh people homeless.
It took a coherent effort by our team of 1000 dedicated volunteers to bring about a transformation in many of these villages. Our work to rebuild the community continues today through a free school with over 550 students and community centers serving 15,000 people.
Our teams have successfully executed multiple short term and long term relief initiatives to help the affected:
Conducted trauma relief workshops reaching out to more than 35,000 people in around 42 villages
Education to students through a free school with over 550 students
Built community centers to serve 15,000
Provided immediate material relief worth Rs. 13 crores in the form of food, shelter, medicines in 15 villages in Tamilnadu
Built 94 Tsunami resistant homes for the people of Periamanikapangu
reaching out to more than 35,000 people in around 42 villages
through a free school
to serve 15,000 people
We reached out to the affected through our medical camps to improve their physical health and through our trauma relief programs to help them overcome stress and trauma. We built the Sri Sri Vidya Mandir Matriculation School, Sri Sri Industrial School and a multipurpose community center in 2007, 2008 and 2012 respectively.
We also started empowerment and skill building projects such as Child Care Centre, Computer Centre, Tailoring Centre, Jute Bag Centre and Agarbathi (incense sticks) Centre. These facilities enabled affected children, youth and women to become active in their lives again by which we were able to bring about holistic rehabilitation of the survivors.
Sustainable development can only happen when a permanent presence of the leading development force is ensured. To make the villages self-sufficient and progressive a very important step was to provide homes for people.
The housing project posed a big challenge considering the strong undercurrents of caste and communal hostilities in the area. 94 tsunami-resistant houses, in Periamanikapangu village in Manikapangu Panchayat, were built in-situ in 2006 addressing the long term requirements of the victims.
What we achieved in Nagapattanam is a good example for the kind of change that can be brought about if a sense of community ownership is built. Our efforts albeit time bound were very effective.